Our Commitment in 2017

Adopted December 9

Our Commitment in 2017 and Beyond

by Brandon Mustful

Five years ago the Beltrami Humane Society (now Great River Rescue) was in dire straits.  The organization had run up a lot of debt, and was without an executive director.  There were only a few board members left to help run the shelter, and only a few staff members to care for the pets day-to-day.  The board members at the time actually voted on whether or not to keep the doors open.  Fortunately, they voted to stay open, and those that stayed with the organization worked tirelessly to get things going in the right direction.  They made a plea to the community for help, and many members of our community stepped up.  They hired me as the new executive director in June of 2012, and with their continued support, things started to improve.  Today, we are in a much better place.  We have renewed our image, our finances have stabilized, we are helping more animals, and we are on the brink of growing even further.  As crucial as the last five years have been to the history of this organization, now 40 years old, 2017 will be more important than ever.

In 2016 Great River Rescue took-in a total of 420 animals, a substantial increase from the levels just a few years ago.  We had a total of 353 adoptions, 12 of which were special needs pets, and had 9 animals reclaimed by their owners.  We spayed/neutered 236 animals, provided 858 vaccines, and gave 3170 needed medications.  Not only did we provide needed medical care, but we also provided behavioral enrichment and training.  During the year, our Mod Squad volunteers logged 600 hours with the shelter dogs and helped 12 dogs with behavior issues find homes.  Overall, volunteers contributed 3010 hours of time, 891 of those hours spent socializing the shelter pets.  We also continued our outreach efforts to educate the public about responsible pet care.  Over the year we held a total of 56 community presentations which furthered our mission.  Finally, although we did not see a decrease in our average length of stay for the pets in 2016, it remained steady at 52 days for cats, and 32 days for dogs.  Below are some charts which illustrate the statistics I mentioned above:

In 2017, we are committed to helping even more animals than ever before.  We are grateful to now be in a position where we can really think about growing the organization and making a greater impact.  However, we will continue to do this process incrementally and responsibly.  Our success over the past few years have been a direct result of patience, steadfast work, and proper management.  In the past, this organization has run into problems because it has not managed the influx and outcomes of shelter animals.  We always have to be careful not to take on more than we can manage.

Our shelter practices something called “managed intake.”  This is a practice in which we generally take in animals by appointment only.  We understand that it can be frustrating when trying to surrender an animal to give it a better life and we are not able to take it in right away.  We also understand that it may be confusing when we have so few adoptable pets at times.  We do this to ensure we have the time, energy, and resources to properly care for every animal that comes to our shelter.  When we are able to effectively manage the intake of new animals we can help more of them in the long run.  We also want people to know that while our adoption floor may not always be full with animals, our quarantine and intake areas might be.  We have very limited space in our intake areas, and this sometimes prevent us from taking in a higher quantity of animals.

This year, we will continue to practice managed intake, but we will strive to take in even more animals than we did in 2016.  Our Board of Directors has approved a small increase in staffing hours which will give us more time and opportunity to take in and care for stray and unwanted pets.  If we can’t take your pets immediately, we will work with you to provide other options and resources so that you can care for and/or rehome your pet.  We will continue to reach out to local governments and associations to do more in the area of animal control and pet overpopulation.  We will continue to work with other local and national nonprofit organizations to broaden our reach and make sure that every pet is well cared for.

As we look to the future, it is our goal to grow and provide more services to the public.  We would love to be able to help more in the area of animal control and the issue of animal abuse.  We would love to be able to take in animals as soon as the need arises and avoid adding people to a waiting list.  We also believe that the community wants to see these things happen.  With a little more time, patience, steadfast effort, collaboration, and responsible action, we will continue to grow.  I want to thank everyone who believes in our work and supports us.  Please know that we are doing what we can for this community, and will continue to do that in 2017!

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