Living Free Animal Sanctuary has a mission, as do all rescues, but this one has more than just themselves in mind. The Almost Home 2020 initiative has a clear objective, but it is not one they can do alone. This multi-pronged plan targets the ending of shelter euthanasia in the United States by the year 2020, effectively turning all shelters into “no-kill,” shelters and working to encourage people who want pets to visit their local shelters and rescues before going elsewhere.
Over the next couple of months, each of the key actionable areas will be addressed;
- Direct Action
- Outreach and Education
- Legislative and Policy Changes
First up, Direct Action.
Living Free states the following with specific regard to the Direct Action item:
–Constantly increase Living Free’s rescue and adoption capacity and numbers.
–Work with rescued animals on rehabilitation and preparation for adoption.
–Continue and expand low cost public spay/ neuter clinics.
–Promote TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) programs to reduce the number of feral cats and dogs in breeding populations.
–Provide public, on-site training clinics for preventing or correcting behavior problems.
Living Free understands they can’t have an effective Call-To-Action without leading the charge through their own actions. In speaking with Randall Harris, President of Living Free Animal Sanctuary, it is clear he fully understands and embraces that need. Living Free has the opportunity to model for other like-minded, even questioning, organizations about how this initiative can come to fruition. It isn’t a far stretch, given the data he shared for a variety of resources through which he culled. This isn’t a pipe dream. It is a viable reality.
As they work with their own local community to raise awareness, encourage adoption, and continue to bring animals to the sanctuary, some of the basic numbers Harris shared are eye-opening and offer clear insight as to why this can be entirely possible and why Living Free is compelled to be at the forefront. While there is no centralized database from which to draw numbers, this is what Harris discovered by comparing and contrasting a myriad of available resources:
- In 1980 , there were 65 million pets in United States. At that same time approximately 20 million animals were euthanized
- In 2015, there were about 165 million pets across the country with, sadly, about 4 million euthanized, still too many, but fewer than prior year and with the continued awareness and related efforts on the part of so many dedicated no-kill advocates things are heading in the right direction
- In 2016, somewhere between 24 and 26 million families will acquire new pet. Of that number 5 million will adopt their pets at shelters and the balance from friends, family, pet stores, breeders, and backyard breeders
- If 20% of the remaining 20 million of those looking for pets in 2016 get on board with this initiative through the outreach of their local organizations, rescues, and shelter, meaning one out of every five people or families adopted their pet from a shelter, it would account for the 4 million health animals that will die needlessly in shelters this year.
If anyone thought, even for a moment, their choice didn’t make a difference, there are numbers, and lives, to show that is simply not the case. Statistically, we are already poised to make the Almost Home 2020 initiative happen.
Harris has a quote on the website that speaks volumes to the integrity of what he and the other organizational team members believe. “It is a privilege to work with this team, and help save every life we can. The dogs and cats are our responsibility, and our greatest reward.” His words fully supported by the great passion so easily heard in his voice during conversation that this will…this MUST happen.
Living Free is willing to step up and put out there what they are going to actively do to see this through with the Direct Action. In a concerted effort to inform as many rescues, shelters, organizations, communities, and individuals as possible to become active participants in this initiative, you are invited to contact Living Free Animal Sanctuary for more details and on how you can become involved in realizing the move to make all shelters in the US “no-kill,” and animal-centric, adoptive-friendly facilities for the betterment of everyone and every animal.