ASPCA Equine Fund

March 28, 2013

If your non-profit group or organization is focused on the rescue or care of horses from any part of the horse world, you should check out the ASPCA Equine Fund.  The ASPCA Equine Fund raises money to support both humane rescue activities and also to assist a wide range of horse communities when disaster strikes.

In recent years, the ASPCA Equine Fund has awarded record setting levels of funding across the country, with over 1.6 million dollars in 2011 alone.  The fund continues to help programs like the “Million Dollar Rescuing Racers initiative”, saving retired racehorses from neglect and abuse; and the “Hay Bale-Out” program to make up for the severe hay shortages drought victims experience in areas like Texas and Oklahoma.

Your community can benefit from the ASPCA Equine Fund in several ways.  To help you and your community attain a high level of Equine best practices, you can access the fund for:

  • educational programs on horse care
  • disaster preparedness training
  • horse rehabilitation activities
  • financial support for low income horse owners
  • capital improvements to your facilities (upgrades to existing structures)
  • expansion of sanctuaries to enable more rescues
  • maintenance of websites related to your organization
  • fundraising activities and training

As you can see, the ASPCA Equine Fund is a positive force for the good of all our horse communities.  In addition to the above funding goals, the ASPCA is actively involved in lobbying for stronger laws to protect the Horses of the USA, and is continuing its fight against cruelty to horses with its ongoing Equine rescue operations.

When you have a pet, you want to be sure you are giving it a safe environment in which to live. Sadly, many pets die every year due to exposure to common household items found around the home. Here are ten Pet Poison Prevention tips to make sure your pet lives a long and healthy life.

1. Plants – There are several plants that are poisonous to dog and cats and should be avoided if you have a pet. The worst are lilies which can cause kidney failure.

2. Chocolate – There are many human foods that can poison your pet but chocolate is one of the worst, especially for dogs. It can cause various side effects including cardiac arrest.

3. Medications – As with children, human prescription and non-prescription medicines should be kept out of the reach of your pets; they can chew through childproof caps.

4. Rat poison – It seems like common sense but you have to make sure your pet does not get into traps set for rats and other pests. Keep your pet out of the room where these traps are set.

5. Insecticides – Make sure your pet is not around if you have to spray a room with insecticide and keep the pet out for a few hours afterwards.

6. Household cleaners – Most of us keep cleaners and other household chemicals under the sink. Ensure that your pet can’t reach them and that they are properly closed.

7. Flea and tick treatments – If applied improperly these can kill your dog or cat. Always follow the instructions carefully.

8. Anti-freeze – This can kill both humans and animals very quickly if ingested. As with other chemicals, this and all other automotive products must be stored away from pets.

9. Paint – Paint and other household decorative items such as glue, must be stored where pets cannot reach them.

10. Fertilizers – If you spray your garden to help the grass grow, make sure you are using one that is safe for pets and humans. If you are not sure, keep the pet out of the garden for a few days.

It just takes a little pet-proofing of your home to keep everyone happy and safe. If you follow these Pet Poison Prevention tips you and your pet should be together for a long time.

Your Board of Directors gives leadership and guidance to your animal welfare organization.  In return, you can protect your directors and officers against the numerous lawsuits that are filed each year, through Directors & Officers insurance.  Even frivolous allegations can be devastating to your organization.  Such legal actions can extend beyond your organization’s assets, and reach out to the Director’s personal assets as well.

Directors & Officers Insurance, also known as D&O Insurance or ‘Board Insurance’, provides liability protection for actions of the Board, or for ‘failures to act’.  Such animal shelter insurance is available through the Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program or AWOIP.

Risk management is key to any organization.  D&O insurance in one factor in the risk management puzzle.  You can talk to any of our specialists today about ways to reduce your risks and bring value to your risk management efforts.

The team at AWOIP specializes in animal shelter insurance. That’s all we do.  We know your business.  We understand the insurance needs that are unique to you.  We are also experts at obtaining the best insurance at the best prices.  Given our knowledge of shelters, rescues, humane societies, and SPCAs, combined with our expertise in the animal shelter insurance arena; there is no-one better than AWOIP for your D&O insurance needs.

Our staff is helpful, knowledgeable and courteous.  Call us now, or go to our website at  Let’s discuss your needs and see what insurance product works best for you.

How can a small non-profit organization track the success of its fundraising efforts? Whether you host a fundraising event or launch a campaign to solicit donations, there are four points that can be monitored along the way to gauge the success of your program.

1)  How involved is your team? From members of the Board of Directors to part-time volunteers, everyone in the organization should have an understanding of the importance of the fundraiser and everyone should have some part to play in it.

2)  Is your message clear and persuasive? The organization’s service to the community is the most important message to get across when fundraising. It helps to have a clearly recognizable logo, which appears on all fundraising material. A website is also essential in order to showcase the contribution of the organization within the community, and as a way to make donating easy—preferably by one click on a “donate now” button.

3)  Are your core supporters involved in the campaign? People who have donated in the past are already sold on the good work your organization accomplishes. They should be enlisted to spread the word and expand your target audience. Previous donors can also be asked for advice on ways to make your fundraiser successful. They may give you good suggestions you hadn’t thought of, and your core supporters will feel appreciated for their ideas as well as for their donations.

4)   Are goals being met? A fundraising campaign should begin with careful planning that includes dollar amounts or donations in kind that you hope to receive. This can be monitored throughout the duration of the fundraiser. If the amounts are on track, success will be yours; if donations are less than expected, you have time to make changes or extend the duration of the fundraiser.

And through it all, remember to smile! An optimistic outlook is the best way to ensure fundraising success.

Holding a special event to support your animal welfare organization is a worthwhile undertaking. After all the effort you’ve put into it, you want to make sure people attend. A truly enjoyable event will make them want to come back for future events. Following are some tips to attract people to your event.

Advertise Intelligently
Post information about your special event in local publications that offer free or inexpensive advertising. Use a publication that reaches a wider area and that will increase the number of people that read about your event. Put flyers up in pet supply stores, grocery stores and even other area shelters, if they don’t mind. Visit dog parks and talk to people about what your organization does and have flyers on hand for everyone interested.

Offer Prizes
In the advertisements for your special event mention the prizes you’ll have available. Prizes do not have to be expensive or elaborate because once people read the words “free prizes” they’ll show up just to find out what they can get. Some ideal prizes at your event can be inexpensive toys that all dogs love like tennis balls and simple toys for cats like fabric puff balls.

Have Games and Activities
Create games to have at your event and make sure you put them in your advertisements. Games for adults can include animal trivia or non-wagered cards. To entice parents with children to come, offer face painting, beanbag tossing and crafting.

Get the Community Involved
Enlist members and businesses of the community to help you before or at your event.  Offer to advertise for any local businesses in exchange for them advertising your event. Ask community members if they’re willing to donate items that can be used as prizes.

Serve Food
People are happiest when they’re having fun and eating so make sure you advertise that both will be present at your special event. Ask volunteers to whip up some goodies for your event and set up appetizer and dessert tables that are adult and kid friendly. If you want to turn the event into a casual fund raiser you can also have a mini bake sale of some of the more delectable treats like pies and cakes.

Animal lovers are a special community unto themselves and they know how much having a pet enriches their lives. Make sure your special event honors the true spirit of pet ownership.

Poison Proof Your Home

March 20, 2013

Every homeowner is keen on the safety of their family and the same measures should extend to your pets as well. There is need is a need to poison proof your home in order to prevent any hazards from happening. Here are some pet poison prevention tips to help you avoid instances of pet poisoning.

While different pesticides and pet drugs can be helpful in combating diseases and ensuring your pets are healthy, such medical products may pose danger to your pets. It is therefore important that you read and follow the instructions that come with the drugs you purchase before administering them to the pet. Following label directions is important as it eliminates the risk of poisoning.

If you own a pet, you should take similar measures as those you would take for children. However, you cannot educate pets on the dangers of poisonous pesticides or pills. Keeping your household product and medicinal products in a locked cabinet is important. This also involves separating your pet food products from the medicinal ones. Keeping each product in their original containers is important to avoid any confusion when administering each to the pet.

Apart from ensuring safety in storing drugs, you should also be careful by maintaining a safe environment for your pets. This is one of the most important pet poison prevention tips. Whenever you spill any insecticides or poisonous liquids in your compound or garage, you should hose down the place because pets can lick such liquids and get poisoned.

You should also get rid of plants or flowers which may be poisonous when consumed by pets. Poison traps for mice or rats may be very dangerous if consumed by your dog or cats. Trimming the grass and bushes in your compound and draining stagnant water will go a long way in getting rid of snakes and frogs.

Another way of poison proofing your home is by learning the basics of poisoning and measures which can be taken where your pet has swallowed poisonous products. Knowing some of the symptoms which pets occasion when poisoned is also helpful. You may induce vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide but this should be directed by a pet doctor. It is also important to keep contacts of pet poisoning experts just in case you have an emergency in future. Follow the simple pet poison prevention tips to ensure the safety of your pets.

In a world where social media has become common place in society, it is important for businesses to learn how to best utilize these new tools to advance themselves in order to reach the audiences they are looking for. Everyone is online now, whether it be on facebook, twitter or YouTube, everyone is connected, so you have to figure out how best to connect with them. YouTube is an excellent tool for animal shelters to use because it gives your potential adopters a chance to see not just pictures of the animals you have, but how the act, and how they interact, with other animals, people, and different age groups. For the adopter who is looking for just the right companion, getting a chance to see how those animals act may help them make the decision to come out to the shelter and meet that animal in person, and eventually adopt.

YouTube isn’t a difficult website to use. You can upload videos straight from your smart phone to the website as long as you have an account. This makes taking videos and sharing them with your audience extremely easy and not at all time consuming. You can take a video of a dog while taking it for a walk so that people can see how it does on the leash, or a video of a cat playing with a toy to show how playful and social it is. Social media is the best way to reach out to your base and draw in new adopters and volunteers.


Animal Shelter Insurance

March 18, 2013

Your animal shelter provides an excellent service to our furry friends in need. However it is also at risk of lawsuits stemming from many different sources. Here is how you can protect your shelter from such risks and keep your doors open with specialty animal shelter insurance plans.

Keep Your Doors Open

Animal shelter accident and health insurance allows your organization to stay open so that you can continue providing your services to the community. Since some temperamental animals can be a risk to staff, volunteers and visitors, you need to protect yourself from a lawsuit that could close down your organization. Animal shelter liability insurance prevents this.

Protect Yourself from Non-Animal Risks

While protecting your organization from lawsuit risks due to animal bites or scratches, you also need to protect organization leaders from lawsuits and allegations from volunteers or former employees. It’s hard to imagine that someone would want to bring harm to an organization that only gives back to the community, but it can happen nonetheless.

Protect Your Property and Employees
Animal shelter liability insurance will cover your organization if another is harmed on the job. However, it will not protect your employees or the building you use. Accident & health insurance keeps your organization safe by covering property damage, worker’s compensation and equipment coverage. Many animal shelter insurance policies are designed to protect from such accidents.

Prevent Criminal Losses
Even though your animal shelter actively works to rescue animals in need, unfortunately it is still a target for criminal activity. Accident insurance covers any losses you may experience from a break-in or any other crime that is committed on your premises. If you are concerned about your shelter’s crime risks, discuss your concerns with your agent.

Keep Staff and Leaders Healthy

Your animal shelter may depend on a small staff in order to operate. Any time an employee is sick or has to miss work your shelter takes a hit. Health insurance for your staff keeps your employees healthy so that they can continue to work for your organization, and protects them from illness and injury.

When it comes to insuring your animal shelter, there are many things that need coverage. Discuss all your concerns with your insurance agent and you can find a plan that covers all your needs. Do not overlook the role of accident & health insurance when it comes to your animal shelter.



Spending time outdoors is a great pastime for many individuals and families. It is no wonder that the time also includes the companionship of four legged friends. This time outside can have tragic results, often from situations that could have been prevented with a few simple pet safety approaches.

Five Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe While Outdoors

  1. Restraint or Containment – A dog should always be kept on leash when not in a contained space. The leash should only be held by an individual who is old enough and large enough to control the animal if something should happen, such as the dog becoming suddenly afraid or aggressive resulting at a strong lunge or pulling at the lead. Containment includes adequate fencing, or caging, that the canine is not able to go under, over, or through.
  2. Shelter – Each season and weather condition requires the appropriate type of shelter. Hot temperatures necessitate shade or cooler place to retreat to; rain and wind begs a covered location of some type; snow mandates a location off the ground that enables the dog to keep both warm and dry.
  3. Water – A dog needs the ability to access clean, fresh water year round. During the winter it is important to note that eating or licking ice or snow does not qualify for water intake.
  4. Socialization – Today it is common for people to want to take their animals to the dog park so that they can enjoy interactions with other dogs. This time can be hazardous when aggressive dogs are in the park or other open area. It is vital that owners understand and recognize aggressive signs and the best way to address the situation to prevent and limit injury.
  5. Health Care – Keeping dogs current on their vaccines and providing any parasite treatments aids in keeping the pooch happy as well as preventing illness or infestations from developing. Owners that are unsure of the correct health care for their pet should never hesitate to talk with their veterinarian.

Pet safety can be very easy to accomplish with a little forethought. Taking the time to follow these five steps can dramatically limit the financial hardship and emotional devastation that can result from time spent outside with pets.


Poison Proof your Lawn

March 13, 2013

Pets are prone to poisoning because most of them are not trained to recognize dangerous substances. They are also naturally curious and will gravitate towards a strange new object, unmindful of its true purpose or risk. Keep your pets safe and healthy with these pet poison prevention tips.

Go natural.
If you let pets out to play in the yard, stop using chemical pesticides or fertilizers for plants and grass. Many commercial pesticides contain ingredients that are toxic or irritating to animals. Use organic fertilizers instead and prevent pests by mixing a homemade pesticide from natural ingredients. One caveat: if using cocoa mulch, apply only to plants that are out of reach of pets. Cocoa can be very toxic to some pets if ingested, so either apply it sparingly where pets cannot get to it or avoid it altogether.

Follow proper disposal methods for waste materials.
Lead from dead batteries, used automotive oil, grease and other automotive and household products that contain chemicals must be wrapped or placed in a leak-proof container and disposed of properly. Some products, such as antifreeze, taste sweet and therefore quite attractive to pets. Always clean off any spills and store leftover items away from the yard out of reach of children and animals.

Be aware of poisonous plants.
One of the most important pet poison prevention tips that every pet owner should keep in mind is that many popular houseplants can be toxic to animals. Some plants have sap, leaves or berries that can irritate the mucus membranes while others can cause a number of health problems or even death if ingested. Be careful when raising plants such as belladonna, calla lilies, birds of paradise, mistletoe, Easter lilies, brunfelsia (the berries are toxic), lily of the valley, morning glory, tansy and venus flytrap, among others.

Keep outdoor trash cans secure.

Trash cans present dozens of combinations of potentially hazardous materials. Aside from spoiled leftovers and food scraps, they can also contain old, damaged and broken household items. Place trash cans on level surfaces and secure or lock the lids to prevent access by bored or curious pets.

Keep pets within a confined, fenced area
Even if you implement pet poison prevention tips carefully, pets could still become victims of poisoning if they strayed into the neighbor’s yard. Keep pets within a fenced area or indoors, if and when necessary.