Fall 2011 Magazine

Maddie's Fund Grants to
Bernalillo County Coalition

By Nancy Marano

The Maddie's Adoption Coalition (MGAC) is comprised of Animal Humane | New Mexico (AHNM), Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department, Enchantmutts, New Mexico Animal Friends and PACA. This group applied for a grant from Maddie's Fund to help determine the best way for local shelters to no longer euthanize healthy animals because there are no homes. The eventual goal is for Bernalillo County to become a no-kill community.

Maddie's Fund was started in 1999 by the Duffield family in honor of their Miniature Schnauzer, Maddie. Their mission is to ".fund the creation of a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home."

Maddie's Fund supports collaborative efforts in which entire cities and counties pool their talents and resources to build a safety net for the community's dogs and cats. They do not fund individual shelter programs. The Foundation has donated 96.1 million dollars to animal welfare organizations and universities to end the killing of healthy, treatable animals. Funded multi-year projects are required to produce immediate and measureable results. Shelter adoptions must increase and shelter deaths must decrease in order for funding to continue to the next grant level. They give starter grants to gather shelter statistics and write business and strategic plans for accomplishing these goals.

Animal Humane | New Mexico is the lead organization in MGAC. They received $30,000 from Maddie's Foundation for a Community Shelter Data Collection Grant, the first grant in the series. This money will be distributed to all the groups in the coalition in order to collect and publish data on the number of dogs and cats impounded, adopted and euthanized annually by Bernalillo County's animal shelters and animal rescue groups. This data will be found on the Animal Humane | New Mexico website under Programs: Maddie's Fund. The data will be collected for two years (2011-2013) and each year will be posted so the progress can be followed by the community.

The phases of the grants are overlapping so application is being made now for the second grant, the Pet Evaluation Matrix. The Matrix grant will be from $10,000 - $40,000. This grant involves conducting surveys with community pet owners and veterinary practices. The goal is to obtain information from the community on which medical and behavioral conditions it would consider "healthy," "treatable," or "unhealthy and untreatable."

An example of this would be a cat with cancer. To treat the cat would cost $5,000. Would the majority of pet owners consider this "treatable" or would the expense be enough to put the animal into the "unhealthy and untreatable" category?

"Once the classifications are set, the shelter community will use them to determine whether more funding and resources are needed to meet community expectations of care from their shelters," said Kim Snitker, AHNM Program Manager.

The Pet Evaluation Matrix grant will be awarded in one installment. Half goes to the animal group responsible for preparing the matrix. Each participating group receives a portion of the grant following the distribution plan used for the Community Shelter Data Collection Grant.

The next grant is the Business Plan for Saving Lives. This also ranges from $10,000 - $40,000 and will be handled the same way as the other grants. Coalitions must submit a one-year business plan that includes specific strategies for increasing adoptions and reducing shelter deaths community-wide and quantifiable goals. There must be a description of how progress toward the goals will be evaluated and monitored. A discussion must be included explaining how the business plan will be funded and an explanation of how the business plan will lead to zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats community-wide by year five.

"These grants are significant to our community because they will put a strategy in place which allows us to see which dogs and cats are being euthanized and why," Snitker said. "By understanding this we can put our energy and money in the right areas to create a no-kill community."

In July, Maddie's Fund released the first comparative database of shelter statistics. It comprises two years-worth of information from 474 shelters and 56 communities using Asilomar Accords (see box) reporting methods and formulas. The data comes from communities that received Maddie's Fund Community Shelter Data Collection Grants. This database allows communities to search for other communities similar to them in demographics and see how their shelters compare. It provides hard numbers the shelter community can use with their own local governments to justify funding, facility and equipment requests to save animals. It gives the animal welfare community an idea of what's been happening and what still needs to be done. This was never possible before.

"This data will inspire communities that are below the norm to catch up with the lifesaving gains being made in progressive communities," according to Richard Avanzino, Maddie's Fund President. The information gathered from Bernalillo County will be added to this database.

"If we can adhere to the plan, it is predicted to take approximately 15 years to reach our goal of a no-kill community where every animal has a home," Snitker said.

Nancy Marano is an award-winning writer who is owned by three cats, Sammy, Callie and Max. Callie and Max are new additions to our family. She is a member of the Cat Writers' Association and Dog Writers of America.

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