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San Antonio Agencies Get New Ideas to Achieve No-Kill Status

Animal Defense League
Eileen Pace
Texas Public Radio
The Animal Defense League, a no-kill shelter working to make San Antonio a no-kill city, gives dogs like this a safe place to live while finding them a forever home.

Two weeks ago at the Animal Defense League, 33 new residents were rescued from the City of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services. The dogs were orphaned by the death of their owner, and the ADL found that they had been well cared for and were adoptable.

However, not all dogs are so lucky. Spokesman Hugo Vital said ADL actively works on getting more foster homes for pets.

"In the foster home, they will care for them there, or if it's an injured animal - until they are healthy enough to come back to the shelter - so we can find them their forever home. So foster parents also play a very key role in live release," said Vital.

Gavin Nichols with the San Antonio Area Foundation booked guest speaker Michael Arms for the second annual “Talk About It” community conversation.

"He (Arms) says that you need to approach the business of saving lives as a business, and really work hard on marketing, on promotion, on those kinds of things that will make your business successful," said Nichols of what he took out of the conversation.

"Primarily, it comes back to the old adage of thinking outside the box," said Kathy Davis, the newly-arrived director of the city’s Animal Care Services. Davis said Arms brought some creative ideas to her staff at ACS.

"Some of it is just terminology," said Davis. "He brought up an interesting thought that our pets really aren't mixed breeds, they're blends just like Starbucks, and possibly renaming our animal control officers to animal rescue officers."

Davis agrees that the city needs more foster homes for pets and said collaboration among a variety of providers is key to achieving no-kill status.

Nichols said recent numbers indicate it’s already making a difference in Bexar County.

"At this time last year - September of 2011 - our live release rate in San Antonio was 31 percent," said Nichols. "At this point - in September of 2012 - we are at 58 percent."