Posts Tagged ‘charity’

SNIPSA’s Big Fix

The San Antonio Area Foundation is pleased to welcome as a guest blogger Shannon Espy, DVM, Top Dog at SNIPSA.

SNIPSA is an organization formed by a group of veterinarians and caring individuals dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted animals in San Antonio and the surrounding area. SNIPSA does not have a standing shelter and instead depends on a core of volunteers to foster and rehabilitate animals in their homes.  Dr. Espy, her staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make San Antonio an Animal No Kill by 2012.

Dear Big Fix supporters,

This is a belated thank you from our last event in late January. Life at SNIPSA is busy as always. Well we broke all records performing 224 spays/neuters, 94 of which were female dog spays. Yes that is right, 94 fewer females reproducing on the streets. And if you think about the exponential number of offspring this prevented, we did quite a good deed.

The amazing thing was we were pretty much finished with surgery by late afternoon. The challenge is always finding enough experienced technicians to keep up with the efficiency of the doctors. Each time we learn a little more and tweak things here and there. It is always nice to have new faces- a new veterinarian at discharge to help answer questions and our old-timer military veterinarian was back to work recovery. We trapped a handful of cats and continued to work on a colony throughout the following week.

While blockwalking, we discovered a very sick dog suffering from distemper. She could barely stand and was doing her best to get around in an open field. We left her a can of cat food and returned the following days to check on her. If you remember, this was the day before the Arctic front hit. So knowing she would most likely succumb to the elements, we ventured back out and found her lying on a discarded mattress. She also had a well-loved television tube decorated with graffiti adjacent to her mattress. She weighed all of 25 lbs or so and should have weighed at least 50. Every rib was in plain view. Dr. Neelish was kind enough to take her to his hospital and give her a fighting chance. She is still with us today though we know this is a debilitating disease and her chances of making a full recovery are very slim.

I share this story because this is the very thing we are working diligently to prevent. Just one vaccine would have spared this poor dog. Every Big Fix, there is a new set of circumstances and group of animals we encounter. Many have mange, are pregnant, lived tethered, and just basically get by. We are so busy during the day that it is often difficult to reflect about the good we are doing. But when the dust settles the following day, I am awed by everyone’s compassion and commitment. I know we are doing God’s work serving people who have less than we do. And in blockwalking, we are reminded of that even more.

I want to personally thank each of you that participate in our Big Fix days. You are an integral cog in their success. To date we have sterilized, vaccinated, and microchipped 1442 dogs/cats since May 2009. We plan on going strong this next year.

With appreciation,

Shannon Espy, DVM

If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

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Learn and Serve at UTSA

Animal No Kill InitiativeI am still sky high from the Learn and Serve presentation this morning. Learn and Serve is a UTSA Master of Public Administration service learning program for which they were awarded a $50K grant from the Animal No Kill Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation this year. In this program, MPA graduate students are mentoring high school student groups to plan and execute projects that will have an impact on the No Kill effort that we have underway in San Antonio. The program is led by the Co-Directors of the LEARN from each other AND SERVE San Antonio: No Kill Project: Molly Cox, Director of the Center for Policy Studies and Dr. Renee Nank, Assistant Professor of Public Administration.

There are eight area high schools participating in the Learn and Serve program: Lanier, Highlands, Southwest, Edison, Memorial, Roosevelt, Harlandale, and East Central. Each high school presented its project description and plans. They were each outstanding! The students all showed that they understand the essence of the pet overpopulation problem, and have projects that address the root causes of the problem. Each of them had components of community education about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and what residents must do to practice responsible pet ownership.

The projects included pet festivals (“petstivals”), block walks, spay/neuter clinics, and fundraising to provide vouchersAnimal no kill initiative for more clinics. The high school groups will work with ACS, SpaySA, ADL, the SA Humane Society, Rackspace, and others to accomplish their project goals. Several of them are also including other student groups and their school’s Art Departments in their projects to get help and share in the fundraising. One of the high school groups plans to make a movie of local dogs and promote it to You Tube. These student groups have all set high goals and they have very concrete, specific plans to achieve them. They have shown that they are willing to work together to address the problem that adults in our community have been unable or unwilling to address. I hope that they will shame the adults in the community into getting on board with them.

Edison High SchoolThe general mood in the auditorium this morning was exciting and infectious. The students were very excited and proud about what they are doing. When I saw them, listened to their presentations, and saw the support from their fellow students in the audience, I truly felt that the future of our City, and our Country, is in good hands.

Several members of our Consortium were in the audience this morning: Chris Bellows, Dr. Jo Ann Gonzalez, Marcy Lynch, Kathie McGowan, and Lisa McGrath. I also saw Cynthia Martinez from the San Antonio Humane Society, Rocsy Acosta and Hugo Vital from the Animal Defense League, Ronnie Guest and Vincent Medley from Animal Care Services, Karen Pearce from Alamo City Bully Breeds United, and Elsa Gonzales and Mollie Walker from Drew-Walker on hand. Assistant City Manager Erik Walsh and City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor were also present. They Area Foundation was well represented by Crystal Del Bosque, Bernice Uresti, and Reggie Williams. I believe there is a tremendous amount of interest and high hopes in what these students are doing.


If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

…helping donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community

Chico’s Holiday Giveaway!

Suppoanimal no killrt our team in helping San Antonio become a No Kill City.

Details will follow soon.

In the meantime check out our Facebook Cause page

The Joy of Pet Adoption

In July, Animal Care Services saw 259 of their animals adopted and another 212 transferred to rescue groups. They had 590 Live Releases—the second highest month this year!

AAPAW held two adoption events with 142 pets adopted!  July is normally a poor month for adoptions and we have never had an adoptions event in July before this year.

I wanted to share the following video with you of when the Nevada Humane Society had a big dog adopted.  I’m imagining our friends at the San Antonio Humane Society, the Animal Defense League of Texas, the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services, and the rescue and adoption groups of the Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare doing this when they get a dog or cat adopted.

When you have a few minutes, enjoy the video.

Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives

PSA Campaign Wags Chico’s Tail

You may be interested to know, the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Animal No Kill Initiative is funding a PR campaign for the No Kill effort called Talk About It!   Part of the campaign is the filming of a couple of public service announcements and the taping of some radio PSAs.

My colleague, Crystal, and I went by the film production location this morning.  A local film production company, Geomedia, is filming the PSAs today at a home near Hildebrand and San Pedro, and at the Animal Care Services clinic.  It was very interesting to see the professionals at work producing the PSA.  The PSA includes two actors, a grown man named Juan and his mother, named Lupe.  Lupe is the abuelita figure who sternly admonishes Juan to get his dog neutered.  Juan, like most men, does what his mother says!  The second PSA takes place at the spay/neuter clinic.

The story-behind-the-story is very interesting.  The dog that is used in the PSAs is rescued from the ACS shelter.  Mollie Walker and the dog trainer, Karen Pearce, walked the kennels at the shelter and selected the dog who plays Chico.  The dog is actually a female, long-haired Chiweenie named Zoe.  Mollie took Zoe as a foster so that she would be out of the shelter and be available for training.  An employee of Geomedia has now adopted Zoe (whom she has renamed Cookie, because her daughter’s name is Zoe). 

Chico wih Spokeswoman Maria Ferrier, PhD President of Texas A&M San Antonio

So, not only are we producing a PSA to encourage people in San Antonio to Care, Adopt, Neuter; we have even caused a Live Release from ACS!  How cool is that? 

I also want to acknowledge Geomedia as well.  They are an animal loving and pet friendly company (meaning people can bring their pets to work) and have given us a significant discount for their work because of their commitment to what we are doing.  I’ll point out that Geomedia is known as the best company for this type of work in San Antonio.

People may ask the question, “Why are we spending $15,000 on a PSA, when we could take that money and spay or neuter 300 animals?”  That’s a fair question.  My answer is this:  The PSA will be seen by over 100,000 people on English and Spanish stations.  If the PSA motivates just one half of one percent (0.5%) of those people to get their dog or cat neutered, then we have caused 500 neuters.  That is a good investment.  I actually hope that the PSA will stimulate many more than that, of course.  Additionally, the PSA will also be reusable for the future.  When we have the money available in our budget, or a donor comes forward to fund more air time, we will use this PSA.  I hope that Chico, Juan, and Lupe become household names in San Antonio!

Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives

…helping donors reach their charitable goals for the greater benefit of th community
In 1986, Ms. Estelle Tuna, a long-time resident of San Antonio, created the Aid to Helpless Animals Trust, a field of interest fund with the Area Foundation.  When she established the trust, Ms. Tuna specified that the funds be used for prevention of cruelty to animals. Given the City’s critical need and plans to address it, and the Area Foundation’s commitment to carry forward Ms. Tuna’s desire to prevent cruelty to animals, we now partner with the City and invest resources in No Kill efforts underway in the community.

New Campaign to Move San Antonio to No Kill Encourages City to Talk About It!

Achieving No Kill for dogs and cats CAN happen in San Antonio when we Talk About It! and act on this campaign’s tVamos a Hablardo!hree core elements – Care, Adopt, and Neuter
The Talk About It! campaign, a bilingual, multi-channel grassroots effort, aims to make San Antonio a No Kill community by promoting spay/neuter, adoption and responsible pet care. The program is a collaboration of the City of San Antonio, Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare (AAPAW), the San Antonio Area Foundation Consortium of Partners and animal welfare organizations.  Read more

Talk About It! Animal No Kill

The San Antonio Area Foundation welcomes Laura McKieran, DrPH as a guest blogger. Dr. McKieran serves as Community Chair for the Animal No Kill Initiative’s Consortium of Partners. A dedicated advocate, she volunteers her time and talents to improving the humane treatment of companion pets in our community.

San Antonio is marking a halfway point with its Animal No Kill 2012 initiative, with a goal to dramatically decrease number of euthanized cats and dogs due to lack of space at the city’s Animal Care Services (ACS) facilities. We are pleased to note, according to recent ACS figures, there has been great progress!

Since 2004, ACS’ euthanasia numbers dropped almost 70%. Through adoption, transfer to rescuers, or return to owner, ACS saved 6,500 animals in 2009, nearly 30% of intake – up from 8% in 2004. Similarly, San Antonio’s low-cost spay/neuter agencies report about 40,000 surgeries have been performed, up from a low of 7,500 in 2005.

As a community we’re also trying to find the balance between animal care and animal control. Every San Antonian wants to walk their dog, ride a bike, or enjoy their front yard without fear of being chased or mauled by aggressive animals.

To help fulfill this need, ACS set intake priorities so facilities have enough space to house free-roaming and aggressive dogs. However, this step also comes with the understanding that intake rates will rise since many, if not most, of these dogs are not adoptable.

Thanks in part to the San Antonio Area Foundation, many nonprofit organizations dedicated to animal welfare and responsible pet ownership receive funding for important educational and programming needs including spay/neuter surgeries, adoptions, and organizational capacity building. This kind of generous support is vital to immediate and long term sustainability of our goal….but it is not enough.

Responsible pet ownership is the other key to success. Unfortunately, a great number of euthanized animals at ACS are abandoned or lost pets. Permanent, loving homes as well as humane confinement with an appropriate fence, not a chain or tie-out, are important to reaching the Animal No Kill goal. Temporary foster home care is also a priority as well as community wide awareness to spay/neuter pets. If every pet owner committed to these important responsibilities, San Antonio could see a dramatic decrease in controlling unwanted dog and feral cat populations.

There’s no insurmountable obstacle in the way of San Antonio’s Animal No Kill goal. San Antonians with a passion for animals need to talk about it! Share information with your neighbors and encourage them to commit to responsible pet ownership or contribute their time, talent or resources to help make a difference.

Whether through dedicated responsible pet ownership or donations of time, talent, or resources, everyone can contribute to this important initiative. Simply call 211 and ask for “Community Services”. You’ll find a wealth of information on low-cost spay/neuter programs as well as volunteer opportunities in local shelters.

Let’s talk about saving adoptable pets San Antonio! Let’s talk about responsible pet ownership! Let’s talk about how this goal will help make our neighborhoods safer! It’s time to take action. Join us in supporting the Animal No Kill 2012 goal.

For more information, listen to Dr. McKieran’s podcast.