Note: These videos are recordings from Animal Care Expo Online 2020 and are no longer interactive.

A diversion excursion: Keeping kittens safe outside our walls

Underage kittens are the most vulnerable shelter population. Their very survival depends on keeping their shelter stays as short as possible or even avoiding the shelter altogether. In this session, we’ll hear from innovators at Million Cat Challenge shelters who’ve created practical programs to keep kittens safe outside their organizations’ walls. From outsourcing neonatal kitten raising, foster-based ringworm treatment, kitten shelter diversion, and pop-up cat cafes to knowing the best time to remove kittens from their feral moms, these programs shrink length of stay, keep kittens healthy, and create the best outcomes for #allthekittens.


Adopters Welcome in 2020

HSUS’ Adopters Welcome program was launched over 6 six years ago with a goal to place more adoptable animals into homes by removing common barriers to adoption. Many organizations embraced their communities and watched as more animals transitioned to loving homes. In this discussion, we’ll review the tenets of Adopters Welcome and discuss how new and hidden barriers have prevented animal shelters and rescues from reaching everyone in their community. With a critical eye and open dialogue we’ll discuss how organizations are working to build a more inclusive culture for all.


Affordable housing and eviction crisis: responding to the disaster of poverty

Affordable housing shortages existed for renters in every state in the country before the pandemic. Now millions of renters are estimated to be at risk of eviction in the coming months due to exacerbated challenges from COVID-19. Hear from leaders across the country on how to implement housing and eviction support programs, and learn how you can assist your community with advocacy surrounding rental assistance, support services that keep pets with their families, and temporary foster efforts.


Being a leader in work-life balance and organizational modeling to build resilience for your team

This presentation, geared toward leadership in animal sheltering, will focus on organizational tools and strategies for incorporating a strong work-life balance culture and building an emotionally resilient organization. Many animal shelter staff have had to transition to working from home, coping with the stress of the pandemic, and supporting family members and friends. Even as operations start up again, there will be collective stress and trauma to navigate. We’ll reflect on productive strategies implemented by organizations during crisis and how those can help lead us to a more supportive and sustainable culture.



Community outreach 101—How to start a pet owner support program

Do you want to incorporate pet owner support work into your mission? Whether your community is rural, urban or somewhere in between, this session will help you take the first steps toward creating a community-based program. We’ll discuss how to develop strategies to identify an area of focus, set goals, collect data, use techniques for mapping results, and conduct door to door outreach. This session will cover everything you need to know to get out in the community and start delivering services.



Creating a volunteer-run foster animal vaccination station

Is growing your underage foster program causing bottlenecks in other areas of the shelter? Creating a foster animal vaccination station is one creative solution that utilizes exclusively volunteers to expand and maximize capacity for care for foster babies, providing an excellent customer experience for foster families and reducing the workload and stress on shelter staff. In this session, we’ll discuss solutions we used to overcome our operational roadblocks and bottlenecks, including the change management principles that can debunk fear-based decisions and help recruit bystanders and win over resisters.



Equine standards of care: When is it neglect and how can you prepare

Equines can be found in almost every community, from street vendors in Baltimore and carriage horses in NYC, to suburban riding schools and ranches in the country. Many animal shelters have been seeing more livestock come through their doors in recent years, including horses, ponies, and even donkeys. Do you have an equine expert on staff or the ability to take in a horse or donkey if necessary? In this session, learn basic standards of care, what may constitute neglect, and some steps you can take to prepare for a call or case involving equines.



Getting work done through others

While we are committed to our mission and love what we do for animals, achieving our goals happens through and with other people. This interactive session will help you develop your muscles in situational leadership (knowing which management style to use in which situation), delegation and making effective requests. While there is no single “best” style of leadership, fundamentals such as integrity and trust are considered universally effective traits. Skilled leaders can adapt their style to the needs and readiness of the person or team they are seeking to influence. This session will give participants a chance to explore how their styles match the needs of their employees.



Growing the next generation of shelter leaders

Rapid turnover at entry and mid-level positions in animal shelters make training and onboarding new team members a constant job. In addition, new people coming into the field have a huge amount of information to learn, often in a short amount of time. Many organizations don’t have useful, comprehensive employee training manuals or an organizational culture that emphasizes continuous learning. Best practices in animal welfare are constantly changing. In this session, we’ll show you how to onboard and empower your employees to grow and develop the skills and lifesaving philosophy they need to become the next leaders in animal sheltering. 



Horse trailers: Preventing tragedy in transport

Horse trailer incidents are very common. Do you have basic knowledge of simple maintenance and hitching concerns to prevent trailer wrecks? Who can approach a damaged horse trailer and provide assistance? What if there were 10 horses in a trailer at night, on the interstate and it is on fire? Who should deploy to assist and what are the challenges to extricate and rescue animals while keeping people safe? Technical large animal emergency rescue combines logistical, operational and functional challenges into some simple procedures and equipment for approaching any type of scene.



Let's get practical! Top tips for effective ringworm management in the shelter

What really matters when it comes to diagnosing, treating, and managing ringworm in shelter cats? We'll dive straight into the details, share some DIY tips (including how to run fungal cultures in-house), and bust a few mycological myths along the way!



Make it work!: Shelter behavior operations

Learn how the Humane Rescue Alliance structures staff and programs to stay on top of animal evaluations and support behavioral needs between its two locations in Washington, D.C. We'll share what has and hasn't worked for us; how to use multiple locations to your advantage; strategies for interdepartmental communication; how to prevent animals from falling through the cracks in high-volume, open-admission and transport programs; efficient ways to move beyond a single behavior assessment to incorporate all staff into a holistic assessment process; and how to track and schedule training sessions to efficiently monitor daily departmental tasks and progress. 



Prevention is better than the cure

This session will cover who regulates puppy mills at the federal, state, and local level. It will also provide an overview of the role law enforcement and the HSUS play in addressing puppy mill cruelty as well as the process involved when investigating a case. To assist law enforcement/animal control with investigations and help deter bad actors in the puppy mill industry, we need better laws. This session will cover the processes involved in getting those laws passed to help prevent cruelty in the first place. It will also cover the additional policies that can be pursued at the local level to cut off puppy mill sales outlets as another avenue in combating animal cruelty. The session will also touch on a veterinarian’s role in not only helping to carry out investigations but pass stronger laws.



Punishment to support: Moving away from ‘us’ and ‘them’

The terms “cruelty” and “neglect” are ubiquitous in the world of animal welfare, but have we been so quick to use these words that we’ve actually misconstrued their true meaning and implication? In this challenging yet liberating session, we’ll take a hard look at how our identity as animal protectors drives the way we run organizations, shapes major policies and defines public perception. We’ll discuss how to reduce implicit bias in our work and build trusting relationships within the community.


Radical return-to-owner: Innovative programming to keep families together

While adoption rates have improved substantially in recent years, nationwide there has been minimal improvement in return-to-owner statistics. Shelters will always be necessary safe havens for pets who truly do not have a home, but inflexible policies and expensive fees still leave too many animals branded as “homeless” even when they have an owner. Hear from shelter leaders about how they are using innovative strategies to drive positive outcomes and reunite pets with the people who love them.


"The community cat pyramid" = Success

Gain an in-depth understanding of the “community cat pyramid” and how it can help your community reduce cat overpopulation. Community Cats podcaster, Stacy LeBaron, will break down in detail how she developed the “community cat pyramid” and why it makes sense to have this tool handy while making strategic decisions in your organization. She will present case studies of communities in Massachusetts that have used this tool to create successful programs. Stacy will tackle the big budget and finance questions around how to fund all of the work needed. Attendees will walk away with their own action plan for success and information on how they can receive future mentoring to help improve their programs. 



Treating the whole animal through medical and behavior evaluation

Decision-making to determine animal outcomes, both positive and negative, is a complex process that may involve establishing the soundness of an animal’s health and/or behavior. In this session, we will discuss parameters, approaches and challenges faced by both medical and behavior evaluators who, at times, may hold opposing views. Actual case studies will be presented to demonstrate the processes involved to arrive at a decision for the appropriate outcome. The discussion is aimed to provide not just concepts, but also practical steps to treat and evaluate the entire animal. 



Verbal de-escalation: Stepping back from the edge

Have you ever been yelled by a citizen while conducting an investigation or helping a customer at the animal shelter? Did you say something that made the situation worse? Have you ever needed to call for a police officer or a supervisor to help you with a verbally combative person? This lecture was designed from techniques like verbal judo, crisis intervention and mediation. We will look at how your body language, tone and the words you use dictate the flow of your interaction and how to make an argumentative person become polite and respectful. 



Why access to animal care resources is a social justice issue

Pet ownership crosses all geographic, racial and socioeconomic boundaries, but access to information and services does not. Institutional bias and systemic inequality have impacted pets in ways you may not realize and there is a great need in our field to understand and deepen the connection between social, racial, and economic justice and animal welfare. Discover what this could mean in your community and how it should inform your organization’s programming.



Winning grants for animals

Fundraising is an essential part of a healthy nonprofit's daily activities. Finding and securing grant funding can assist animal-centered organizations bridge the gap when programs need resources that regular, robust fundraising cannot fulfill. This session will discuss animal-focused grantmakers, the application process, tips and best practices for bringing attention to your programs, and how to report on the successful use of the secured funds.