Three cheers for three outstanding animal shelters

Maddie's® Shelter Embed Project celebrates milestones and welcomes a new shelter.
By Kelli Harmon

It’s hard to believe that it has only been a year since we launched the $1.5 million Maddie’s® Shelter Embed Project (MSEP). That’s the program in which Best Friends takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to lift up shelters trying to save more lives. We send our people to work alongside shelter staff to help the shelter get to no-kill.

Well, we have some exciting news. The first two shelters involved in MSEP — both in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley — are making incredible progress. Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS) had its first month ever with a save rate above 90%. That’s right, this past January was the first time in the 30-year history of PVAS that the shelter reached the no-kill threshold. Let that sink in. After years of struggling to save the thousands of animals who enter the shelter annually, PVAS has turned a corner and is well on the way to no-kill. If they can do it, anyone can.

Meanwhile, the second MSEP shelter, the Humane Society of Harlingen, is heading there, too. The humane society closed January with a save rate of 81.5%, the highest the shelter has ever reached. There’s still plenty of work to do, of course, to keep things moving in the right direction at both shelters, and we’re not slowing down for a minute. In fact, the project is expanding to include Santa Rosa County Animal Services (SRCAS) in the Florida Panhandle. The shelter has been striving to change its programs to save more animals, and outstanding progress has been made. In 2018, SRCAS was only able to save 34% of the animals who came through the doors. Thanks to a lot of hard work, the save rate jumped to 70% in 2019.

That isn’t good enough for SRCAS, however, and now shelter staff are getting assistance from Best Friends. The Best Friends advocacy team helped update an animal control ordinance that stood in the way of increased lifesaving, and a full-time Best Friends staff person started working at SRCAS in February to help get other key programs and training up and running. Here’s to more stories of strength, resilience and hope to lead us to a no-kill country by 2025.

CTA Special thanks to Maddie’s Fund® for generous support that makes this good news possible. #ThankstoMaddie

This article appeared in Best Friends magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine by becoming a Best Friends member.

Photo by Sarah Ause Kichas