Working with animals on a daily basis requires special individuals with big hearts and a strong will. Animal shelters and rescues rely on these individuals to run smoothly and make decisions in the best interest of the animals in need. Animal rescue organizations vary in type and size. Some have a physical location and others are 100% foster-based. Some participate actively in adoption events while others rely on social media to promote adoptions. No matter the operational differences – they all require specialized liability insurance.
Foster-based Organizations
Animal rescues that are foster-based rely on volunteer foster parents to house and care for their animals. One of the most common questions we hear is,
“Does my animal rescue really need liability insurance if we don’t have a physical location?”
The answer is simple: “Absolutely!”
Why?
Many assume general liability insurance only protects organizations from slip and fall accidents at their location. While this is true – there are other protections included in liability insurance policies for nonprofit animal rescues. Here are 5 main reasons your foster-based animal rescue needs liability insurance:

  • Animal Bites.
    Liability insurance protects against damage or injury to individuals not associated with your rescue (volunteers or employees). One of the biggest risks you face is a member of the public getting bit by a dog, cat, or horse in your care. These individuals may file a lawsuit claiming your organization was negligent which led to the bite. Lawsuits involving minors can be extremely costly to an organization. Liability insurance pays to defend you and settlement costs when necessary.
  • Adoption Events.
    Many foster-based rescues rely on adoption events to introduce animals to the public and increase chances of adoption. If you attend adoption events, your organization faces many risks because you can’t control everything all the time. Animals can jump and knock individuals over, scratch, and attendees might fall and injure themselves at your booth/table. Liability Insurance pays to defend your organization and any settlement costs resulting from the lawsuit. The best liability insurance policies extend to include coverage at these events while others may charge an additional fee for each event you attend.
  • Foster Home Visits.
    Foster parents open their hearts and homes to animals in need of care. The actions of the animals are not covered under their personal homeowner’s insurance policy. To protect your organization from incidents occurring in a foster home, you need to purchase liability insurance. Liability insurance protects you in the event a potential adopter visits the home, injures themselves and files a lawsuit for damages.
  • Medical Expense.
    Each of the incidents above shares a common factor- the chance for an individual not related to your organization to become injured. Whether they choose to file a lawsuit or not – there are still medical bills that need to be paid. Liability insurance pays medical expense in these instances.
  • Adoptions Gone Wrong.
    You go to great efforts to place animals with amazing forever homes. Aggression testing, socialization, and adoption applications are necessary parts of this process. Even with these steps, adoptions sometimes go wrong. A dog may bite or show aggression in their new home causing a lawsuit to be filed against your animal rescue. The right liability insurance covers instances like these and pays to defend you and any settlement costs incurred.

These coverages are unique to animal rescues and shelters and require an insurance policy tailored to your specific needs. Contact your insurance agent today to confirm these necessary coverages are present on your policy. If you have additional questions or need more information, contact the team at Animal Welfare Organization Insurance program at 800-673-2558.

Do you want to impact the lives of pets in your community? Local animal shelters are always in need of dedicated volunteers. There are a variety of ways individuals can get involved with an animal shelter. From hands-on experience, to behind-the-scenes administrative work, there is a spot for all types of volunteers. Whether you are interested in getting involved, or looking to bring more volunteers onto your team, these are five signs you should look for in a good animal shelter volunteer:
1. Love of animals: Volunteers for animal shelters need to be excited to be working with different types of furry friends. While working in a shelter, it is important to have volunteers who are passionate about helping each animal find a new home. Hands-on volunteers will experience long hours spent cleaning, feeding and playing with these animals. Administrative volunteers will also be working in close quarters with these animals.

2. Qualified: Qualifications of a certain role depend on the volunteer position. It is important to evaluate the physical, emotional and mental skills each potential volunteer has. AWOIP has a sample skill screening to help properly place volunteers in order to best benefit the individual and the organization.

3. Patient and kind personality: Many animals that come to shelters have had a difficult past. It is important volunteers are both patient and kind when handling the animals. Working with these types of animals can be a very emotional experience and it is important volunteers are able to be understanding and compassionate.

4. Energetic: Working in an animal shelter requires an upbeat and energetic personality. Volunteers should be excited to be doing something they love: working with animals. Some hands-on tasks can be very physical and some administrative tasks can be very time-consuming, so it is important each volunteer is full of energy.

5. Committed: Shelters are looking for volunteers that are dedicated to the organization and that can commit to spending time at the shelter. Shelters rely heavily on volunteers so it is important they are reliable.
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be a very rewarding experience. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, contact AWOIP to find opportunities in your area. If you are a shelter looking to implement a Volunteer Program, make sure to also check out these tips from AWOIP.

Shelters are homes to many animals seeking their forever home. However, before animals are ever adopted out of the shelter adoptive parents should be offered a human education program offered by your shelter. This type of program can help new future pet parents be the best that they can be to their new furry soon to be pals. However, humane educations program should also be offered to schools to by shelters to help educate children at young ages about the equal rights all living creatures on this earth deserve.
The Benefits of Shelters Offering Humane Education Programs
1. Humane education programs teach pet parents to care for their companions in a responsible manner.
2. The program can help people understand the consequences of being irresponsible when it comes to their pets.
3. Humane Education programs can encourage the value of all living things in people who need to develop a more humane nature towards living being.
4. The program can teach people how animals can be motivational tools to help teach others how to grow in life.
5. Helps teach people how to care for abused animals properly.
6. Can educate people on how to stop and prevent animal abuse from occurring.
7. Teaches people the services animals can provide to the ill and disabled.
8. Offering a humane education program can teach people how to be loving, caring and respectful to all creatures upon the planet.
9. Programs such as this can help teach people empathy as well as how to socialize with living beings in a proper manner.
End Notes for the Benefits of Offering Humane Education Programs to People
The benefits of offering a humane education program are countless and necessary for developing pet owners and human beings, that are more kind, respectful and loving to all living creatures upon the planet. Without programs such as these, people who do not understand how to be towards other living beings could potentially develop a behavior that is cold and senseless towards other upon this planet.
In fact, people who never develop skills on how to be humane are more capable of developing abusive behaviors and becoming criminals. If offering humane education programs through shelters and at schools creates more humane human beings than these types of classes should not just be offered, but should be mandatory to help all humans develop a more humane nature so our planet can be a happier peaceful place to live upon.

What is Backyard Breeding?

February 15, 2015

It is common these days to see more and more backyard breeding. This type of breeding causes puppy mills to exist and the population of animals on the streets and in shelters to grow. Putting a stop against backyard breeding is the only way to control these unnecessary situations for animals.
What exactly is backyard breeding?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe humans who breed animals without the legal license to do so. The reason it is done is to create animals, which can be sold off to earn and income, or to create an animal with a certain temperament for dog fighting purposes. However, when animals cannot be sold off they are released onto the streets or into the wild to make more room for the next rounds of backyard breeds.
What kinds of animals are used in backyard breeding?
Horses: All types of horse breeds are used in backyard breeding to create horses for slaughtering purposes. Backyard breeders that can turn out a lot of horse meat will sell it off in hopes of earning an extremely large sum of money for living purposes or continuing on with the breeding.
Dogs: Pitbulls are some of the most common dogs breed with other dogs by backyard breeders to create pups with temperaments that are easy to train for fighting purposes. However, other dog breeds are used in backyard breeding as well just to create puppies, which can easily be sold off in puppy mills or the side of the street simply to make an income.
Cats: All types of cats are used in backyard breeding to create kitten litters, which are sold off easily due to cuteness to earn some extra money. Most cats breed in backyards end up with all kinds of horrible health conditions and tend to be put onto the street if they cannot be sold off in time before the next breeding season begins.
Rabbits: All kinds of rabbits are breed often in backyards to produce tons of kit litters, which are sold off during the Easter holiday with ease, or for meat selling purposes.
End Notes for Backyard Breeding
All animals desire respect and kindness, which means backyard-breeding needs to stop. If you know of backyard breeding going on, report it immediately to animal patrol and prevent more animals from becoming homeless, abused and used for other purposes other than sharing love.

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Valentine’s Day is a special holiday that celebrates love. This special day is not just for humans either. In fact, this holiday is for celebrating the love you have for your pets too. Spoiling them with new toys and tasty treats along with lots of tender care to celebrate love with them is necessary, but there are some safety tips you should keep in mind.
1) Avoids Treats that are Poisonous to Your Pets
Spoiling your pets with people food is not always best to do on Valentine’s Day to show your love and appreciation towards them. In fact, some human foods are poisonous to pets. For instances, chocolates are harmful to cats and dogs, the seeds of apples and pears are poisonous to rabbits along with mushrooms, avocados and cherries, people food can pollute fish tanks and birds should never be offered rhubarb, eggplant, onions or olives. Only feed your pet, pet foods.
2) Stay Away from Valentine’s Day Costumes
Dressing up your pet for Valentine’s Day may be cute, but costumes should never be forced onto your pet. Doing so could cause injury. Costumes with tiny buttons, love arrows and other gadgets sticking out of them should also be avoided. Oh, and that includes cherub wings. While you are pet may look cute in them, during playtime they can be caught in things and cause injury.
3) Always Put Chocolate Boxes Up and Away
If someone you love gives you a box of chocolates or some sort of candy that contains an artificial sweetener it is best to put your treats out of your pets reach. Not doing so could cause them to get curious and get into your treats causing poisoning in your pal. Be kind to your pets this Valentine’s Day and put your treats out of reach.
4) Flowers are a No, No
Flowers are lovely, but they should never be given to your pet to play with on Valentine’s Day. In fact, some could be poisonous to your pet while flowers such as rose have thorns that could cause possible harm or serious injury, which require immediate vet care.
5) Pets as Gifts
Giving a pet as a Valentine’s Day gift is a sweet gesture, but they should never be given to love ones who cannot take care of them properly. Remember, pets are beings too that need lots of tender love and care.

Shelters are the home of the animals that need new homes. Keeping proper upkeep is essential to attracting new visitors, which could possibly end up being new adoptive parents to some of the animals in your facility. It is always wise to have an active plan in place to improve your shelter to be the best it can possibly be. If you are not sure what to put in your shelters action plan to help keep your shelter running in top notch the tips below will help get you started.
#1 Keep the Shelter Clean and Tidy
If your shelter appears rough on the outside and the inside it is time to make it clean and tidy so it appears well kept. This means putting fresh paint up on the walls, laying down new flooring when necessary, planting some flowers outdoors, creating a new shelter sign outdoors that is inviting and organizing clutter. It is also wise to replace pet beds, furniture and toys that are overly used to show that you do care for the pets in your shelter by providing them with all they need to stay happy and feel well loved during their stay there until their forever homes are found. This means keeping the doggie kennels clean too.
#2 Make Sure a Grooming Schedule is in Place
Keeping the animals at the shelter well groomed can help keep your shelter as being the best. Well-groomed animals have better chances at finding their forever home. This means having a grooming schedule in place that ensures all animals get pampers. The grooming plan should include baths, nail and claw clippings, haircuts when necessary and lots of brushing to capture loose hairs to prevent hairballs in cats.
#3 Always have a Passionate Staff
If your staff is lacking a passion for working at the shelter it is time to find a new staff that is happy being at the shelter and caring for the animals in away that they deserve. Having a happy friendly staff also ensure that possible adoptive pet parents feel welcome and free to ask questions about all the animals at your shelter, which could help increase the number of animals in your shelter being adopted. After all, it is the small things you do that keeps your shelter improving and being the best it can possibly be for the animals their in need of homes.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of animal shelters across the country. While big name animal shelters often get a great deal of notice, there are many shelters that continue to operate under the radar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways for animal shelters to get noticed quickly, and we’ve collected 7 easy ways to do just that.
1. Use Social Media
Social media is a quick, easy and often free way to get your shelter noticed. Starting a Twitter feed and building a circle of followers can be great advertising for an animal shelter. Facebook and Instagram are great options, too.
2. Offer Promotions
Adoption promotions are a great way to boost adoption rates and garner attention for your animal shelter. Slashing adoption fees, offering special “dog days” and “cat days” can get the community off their couch and into the center.
3. Pick a Spokesdog
Several animal shelters have gained significant awareness by promoting their shelter with a spokesdog. An animal shelter in Milwaukee gained significant awareness by taking their spokesdog, Gracie, to iconic areas around the city and handing out informational packets to passersby.
4. Create Videos
YouTube is a great medium for animal shelters. Take videos of the day-to-day activities at the shelter. Social transparency is a huge theme in business in 2015, and It translates well to animal shelters, too. YouTube can also be integrated into Facebook and other social media sites with great ease.
5. Interact and Engage
Once you have your social media sites set, you’ll need to engage with your audiences. Ask questions, run “cutest pet” contests and offer interesting content. The goal is to get users to engage with your sites and share your content so you can garner more followers.
6. The Newspaper
While print media has largely fallen out of favor with many people, the medium is still a great place to advertise special animal shelter events. Many newspapers offer both print and digital ad campaigns.
7. Talk to the TV Stations
Local news stations often look for “feel good” segments, so keep in contact with producers. This can help you garner your 15 minutes of fame on local media outlets, which can lead to a huge influx of community member coming into the animal shelter.
Exposure can make or break an animal shelter. While many shelters operate with a limited budget, getting the name out there needn’t be

Valentine’s Day is not just for humans. This holiday that celebrates love is for animals too. Some of the animals in your local area that could use a bit of love, compassion and attention this Valentine’s Day are the ones in shelters without homes yet. If your wondering how you can help the animals in shelters in a special way this Valentine’s Day the ideas below should help get you off to a good start.
Offer Heart Shaped Treats
Valentine’s Day, is the holiday of love. Little hearts help symbolize the holiday. To help treat some of the dogs and cats in the shelter you can bring some heart shaped treats to them. Even if you cannot find heart, shaped dog and cat treats, you could also pick up regular cat and dog treats instead.
Pampering the Animals
On Valentine’s Day, some humans enjoy some pampering at a spa to help achieve good looks for a romantic evening with a partner. For cats and dogs, pampering is necessary to for showing love and compassion. Why not, give dogs and cats baths, clip their claws and trim their nails, brush their furry coats and help these animals look sharp to help increase their chances of becoming adopted. Nothing would be better for shelter animals than to find their loving forever home on Valentine’s Day.
Create Loving Greeting Cards
Valentine’s Day is all about love and one of the ways you can show love to others as well as to the animals at the shelter is by creating a Valentine’s Day backdrop, taking photos of each animal in the shelter and creating greeting cards. Do not forget to place a loving description of each animal you take a photo of on the back of the greeting card to help increase their chances of adoption. Once the greeting cards are made, mail them out to random people in your local community to get the word out about the animals staying at the shelter. Who knows, maybe you will reach someone’s heart and help an amazing animal get adopted.
End Notes for Valentine’s Fun at the Shelter
Celebrating Valentine’s Day at the shelter is easy, and with the ideas above you should know how to start the day with some fun for the shelter staff, volunteers and the animals temporarily staying there. Just remember, to spread lots of love to those furry pals too.

Disasters can happen at anytime anywhere. Disasters can range from major earthquakes, flooding, and fires to storms such as tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms. Having a disaster plan in place at your local animal shelter is extremely important. It helps protect the animals and your staff in the event a disaster occurs. If you do not have one, it is time to sit down with everyone who works at your local animal shelter and come up with one. If your unsure of what the disaster plan should include the tips below will help, you begin creating a plan now.
1. Evacuation Location: In the event a horrible disaster occurs that involves an evacuation, you should have a second location you can safely bring the animals and staff. The second location should be spacious, safe and bring the necessary tools and equipment to take care of the animals such as food, water, crates, blankets, first aid animal’s kits and necessary medicines to treat animals that need particular care. It’s also wise to figure out how your going to transport all the animals safely to the second location if need.
2. Fire Escape Plan: Fires can happen at anytime anywhere. If one breaks out in your shelter have a plan that involves getting all the animals and staff out safely through exits. This includes making sure the exits to the shelter are free and clear from boxes and any other objects that might be in the way. It’s also important to have fire extinguishers placed in easy to access location throughout the shelter and ideas on where to place the animals that have been evacuated from the burning building in the event of a fire.
3. List of Emergency Volunteers: In the event of any kind of disaster that requires extra sets of hands for helping, it is wise to have a list of volunteers that would be able to help the shelter out in the event of an emergency situation. Having volunteers can help make handing a disastrous situation easier as well as the recovery process.
4. Back up Generator: During cold winter months, snow and ice storms can knock the power out. This leaves the animals in the shelter without heat to keep warm. It’s essential to have a back up generator to keep heat flowing through the building in the even the power does go out so the animals stay warm and healthy.

Offsite Adoption Checklist

January 22, 2015

Animals are part of nature. Whichever way you chose to view it, they are part of us and they deserve to be shown affection. Today, very many animals stroll aimlessly on the streets, perhaps in search of a warm permanent place to call home. The good news is, with the contemporary animal adoption trend, many animal lovers are now turning to offsite adoption events to rescue these homeless animals. As charming as offsite adoption sounds, it’s a task that requires great planning and extra effort not to mention a sacrifice of your time. Nonetheless, it’s always worth giving it a shot. Here are some of the few things you should include in your worksheet before getting down to the actual offsite adoption process:
1. A comprehensive list of all the volunteers to undertake the task with you- This will help you in keeping a good track of all the people you expect to show up and consequently come up with a way of supervising them depending on the number.
2. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment you require for the task- These may include cages and crates among many others. This will assist in easing the transportation of the adopted animals.
3. A comprehensive breakdown of the offsite location- You want to have clear knowledge of the specific region you are going to commence your adoption procedure. Understand all, or at least the better part of, the routes and pathways or any other relevant site you are likely to find a homeless pet.
4. A camera- This may sound too obvious but it’s always important to keep a good photography record of the offsite location and all the animals traced and successfully adopted from the site. This will play a significant role in convincing prospective adopters while choosing the pets they want to adopt.
Along with these important tips, it’s absolutely important to ask yourself some few questions before you decide to bring a new pet to your home, especially if you are a personal volunteer. Decide why you want a new pet and settle on adopting the one that best fits your taste and lifestyle. If you are under an organization working with volunteers to adopt homeless animals, keep a good track on the volunteers and this will help you reach out to them easily whenever need arises for such offsite adoption events.