Animal shelters and rescues are important to the communities they serve. Animals come to you for care and shelter until they find a forever home. Some come from other shelters, caregivers abandon some, and others show up with little or no history of their life to date. Every animal is a priority in your daily activities. But, sometimes caring for animals is risky. In those moments, what type of insurance you purchased is critical to you shelter or rescue’s well-being.

Insurance

Few people that enjoy shopping for insurance. It can be a long and tedious task if you don’t have an agent that fully understands what you do every day. Finding the right insurance is the first step to being able to properly care for animals in need. Most animal shelters or rescues know they need general liability insurance and directors and officers insurance. There are other insurance coverages that help protect you too. Animal care custody and control liability is often overlooked and excluded from most policies.

What is animal care custody and control liability insurance?

Animal care custody and control liability protects your animal shelter or rescue if somebody sues you for an injury or death to an animal. It is a critical coverage that you can add on through an endorsement to your liability insurance policy.

Why do I need animal care custody and control?

Some animal shelters and rescues think they don’t need this coverage because they don’t knowingly take in someone’s animal. But, animal shelters and rescues have been the victim of lawsuits and needed animal care custody and control to protect them. Here are two common scenarios where this coverage can help.

Owners change their minds.

We’ve all seen it happen. Previous owners abandon their four-legged family member and make the right decision by leaving him/her in your care. A few days pass by before they return wanting to reclaim their pet. What happens if the cat, dog, or horse get sick or run away in that short period of time. Who is responsible? If the family sues your organization, are you protected?

It depends on who the court declares as the rightful owner. In some cases, signed releases are not recognized as valid in a court of law.

Lost pets.

What happens when somebody finds a roaming animal and brings it to you? It’s not theirs and they are looking for a place they know will care for the animal until the owners can be contacted. Plenty of shelters and rescues accept these animals into their care and hope to reunite them with their family.

 

What happens if they run away or passes away in your care before the family comes to pick the animal up and return home? The family may decide to file a lawsuit and say the death or disappearance of their animal is your fault.

In both cases, general liability insurance won’t cover defense or settlement expenses unless you purchased animal care custody and control coverage. Contact your insurance agent today to add this valuable coverage to your policy. If they don’t offer it, contact an insurance agent that specializes in animal shelter and rescue insurance.

Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday in the United States. Even though many nonprofit animal welfare organizations consider Christmas to be the best time to launch fundraising campaigns, Halloween is actually better. 30% more consumers entered promotion campaigns at Halloween than at during the Christmas season. Why? Your supporters aren’t feeling the financial stress of the expensive holiday season – yet.

Advantages
Consider these four advantages before skipping Halloween this year.

  1. Increased donations.
    Launching your fundraising campaign months before the holiday craziness boosts your overall donations. Your animal welfare organization supporters haven’t maxed out their budget buying gifts and are more willing to donate.
  2. Less competition.
    Shhh! Halloween fundraising success is still relatively new and many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues still overlook it as a prime fundraising time. Less competition means your campaign or fundraisers are more likely to capture supporters’ attention. Often times, supporters become overwhelmed and inundated with donation requests in November and December, they ignore or politely decline all requests.
  3. More volunteer involvement.
    Volunteers keep you up and running every day. Without their commitment and time, many animal shelters and rescues are forced to close their doors. Many volunteers have out of control schedules with extra family events and holiday preparation in December. Launching a big fundraising campaign at Halloween increases their ability to help.
  4. Innovative ideas.
    Chances are your past major fundraising drives revolved around the spirit of giving in December. You probably copied the same fundraiser from year to year. Focusing on Halloween this year gives you a NEW list of fundraising ideas. Your long-term supporters will be happy for the change.

Fundraising ideas
Do you avoid Halloween fundraising because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch? Schedule a meeting with your fundraising committee to review these # ideas and pick one to start with.

  • Partner with a local pumpkin patch or fall fest. Contact local organizations and see if they are willing to host fundraising days for your animal welfare organization. Request a portion of the ticket sales be donated to you. In addition, set up a table the day of to collect donations and hand out information.
  • It’s all about the treats. Invite supporters to your location encouraging them to bring “treats” (food, toys, blankets, bowls, etc.) for your animals.
  • Sponsor a costume ball. Invite your community to a costume party. Sell tickets in advance and then offer dinner, raffles, and costume prizes the night of the event.
  • Launch a social media contest. Encourage your online followers to participate in a Halloween-themed contest. Invite participants to submit pictures of their Halloween decorations, carved pumpkins or pets in costume. Publish them online and request donations. Every five dollars = one vote. Award your winners with online recognition and prize.
  • Trick or treat for adopters. Promote adoptions in the month of October by offering a special gift to adopting families. They can pick either a ‘trick’ (training DVD or CD) or a ‘treat’ to take home with their new loved one.
  • “Mommy and me” costume contest. Host a costume contest for pets and their parents! Encourage participants to dress as famous duos or family members.

There is success in Halloween fundraising drives and events. Don’t less this time of year pass your animal welfare organization by. Brainstorm innovative fundraising ideas or use one of these to increase your donations this fall.

Volunteers are one of the cornerstones to running your animal shelter or rescue successfully.  You rely on them to help with day to day needs, care for the animals, organize events, spread the word about your mission, and be passionate about the great work they are doing. Did you know they are one of your biggest risks?  Volunteers are human and unpredictable in their actions.  To successfully manage their actions and minimize risk, implement an official volunteer program.  Here are the categories your program requires:

Volunteer Handbook

Volunteer handbooks contain valuable information about the animal shelter or rescue.  They provide new volunteers with:

  1. Background information
  2. Mission and Vision
  3. Application process
  4. Training expectations
  5. Behavior expectations
  6. Volunteer waiver
  7. Organization policies

Require new volunteers to review the handbook prior to completing a volunteer application.  This information sets the precedence for expectations during their time volunteering for your organization.

Volunteer Waivers

Volunteer waivers are typically included as part of the handbook.  They are vital for animal shelters and rescues to have in place.  A strong waiver includes:

  1. Release of liability for injury and bites
  2. Acceptance that injuries are not covered under a worker’s compensation policy
  3. Acceptance of policies and procedures
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Release to contact to provide medical help or attention if needed

Volunteer waivers are a safety precaution. Volunteers may still choose to file a lawsuit if they believe the animal shelter or rescue is responsible for an injury.  Waivers are part of your defense in court but should not be your only defense.  Work with your legal counsel to draft a waiver that best suits your animal shelter or rescue needs.

The Right Insurance

The best way to be proactive in protecting your animal shelter or rescue from financial loss as a result of a lawsuit is to purchase insurance.  There are many types of insurance you can purchase for your organization including:

  1. General Liability Insurance
  2. Professional Liability Insurance
  3. Accident & Health Insurance
  4. Director’s & Officer’s Insurance

Liability insurance protects your financial assets by paying defense and settlement costs of a covered lawsuit.   Take the time to research animal shelter insurance options today.  Purchasing insurance after a lawsuit is filed will not protect you.

Volunteer Training

Volunteer training is vital for new and existing volunteers.  Create a strong volunteer training program by answering these questions:

  1. What do you want the training to accomplish?
  2. What do your volunteers need to know?
  3. What do your volunteers already know?
  4. How do they learn best?

These answers will help you to create a valuable training program that is beneficial to both the volunteer and the organization.  Once training is completed, have your volunteers tell you what they learned and how they can implement this in their tasks.  Training is never complete and should be offered on a routine basis to volunteers.  The knowledge and education help make them valuable to your team.

 

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.

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.

Your business provides you and your love ones with the income you need to support every day life essentials. Being a strong leader at work is necessary in order for that business to thrive. After all, you want your employees to love who they are working for and provide the best service and care to your business so it can expand and succeed.

Five Tips on Being a Better Leader

1. Structure Leaders must provide structure by creating a plan that keeps the business working properly and the employees working together. This means creating a schedule that works best for you and your employees. Sitting down for a meeting each week with your employees and coming up with a work schedule together ensures everyone has the opportunity to choose the hours and days they wish to put in so when they do come to work they can work more effectively.

2. Compassion Having compassion for your employees goes along way to being a strong leader. Compassion shows that you are human just like your employees and that mistakes happen and emergencies come up that can easily be understood and handled properly. However, this doesn’t mean being a doormat and excusing a particular employee for calling out of work constantly or coming into to work late. When this occurs warnings need to be given and consequences need to occur. This ensures that the company has function so it can run properly.

3. Stay Calm When mishaps happen in the work place as a leader it is important to stay calm, think things through and handle the situation that came up in a manner that does not add more chaos. Remember, chaos only causes more problems and makes matters worse.

4. Respectfulness Having respect for each individual working for you is essential for gaining respect back and having a team of employees that is willing to work with you.

5. Listen To be a strong leader you must listen to your employees concerns and thoughts. Then you must address them in away that is beneficial to all of you and your business. After all, listening to each other is apart of teamwork and teamwork is needed in a business to thrive and grow.

If you are the first point of contact for a dog who is coming in from a puppy mill situation, you have just become the representative of a new life and a second chance.
1. Have a veterinarian assess the dog’s physical condition. Puppy mill dogs are often long undernourished and may have gone without basic medical care. If weight gain is needed, ask for a recommendation for feeding.
2. Provide a safe, comfortable place that is out of heavy traffic for the dog to rest or retreat to when overwhelmed. Provide food and water in a no-strings way to facilitate quick recovery.
3. It is likely a rescued dog will be apprehensive or outright fearful of people. Help make a new, positive connection by tossing a treat whenever the dog looks at, approaches or investigates a person, even if it is only a step at first. Walk near casually and toss a treat. Gradually, as trust is gained the dog will move closer to you.
4. Puppy mill dogs are often under socialized. This can make them fearful of everything. In a very slow, relaxed manner, repeat above procedure when exposing a dog to new worries. Never push a dog to move past its comfort zone, this may result in a stronger fear or lashing out.
5. Leave obedience training until the dog is no longer fearful, or as close as you can. Training a frightened dog will be frustrating, and you are likely to see few to no results. Also, some behaviors like fear or submission urination will often subside with time but respond poorly to training.
6. Enure that a prospective new owner knows about any current difficulties in behavior or health, as well and progress so far. It is important that someone taking a rescued dog have the skills to continue their rehabilitation. Not knowing will simply result in more dogs returning to the shelter.
7. If you have a professional dog trainer on staff or the ability to seek the help of one, do so. A fearful dog can quickly escalate when handled wrong, potentially causing harm to people and more harm to the dog in the end.
It is not always easy to deal with taking on the extra responsibility of an abused or neglected animal, but for some, you may be a brand new or very last chance at life.

Owning a dog comes with important responsibilities such as training for behavioral purposes, grooming care, properly feeding your friend a well-balanced diet and making sure it gets lots of tender love and care. However, most pet owners do not think about the responsibility of having dog bite liability insurance. It is important to have for a handful of reasons.
#1 Coverage of Dog Bite Damage: In the event, your dog bites someone accidentally or on purpose, the cost of damage and injury to the victim is coverage. This is good for you because you do not have to pay any out of pocket expenses when your dog attacks someone, which usually can be extremely costly.
#2 Live Where You Choose: Some states have local laws that require dog owners to have liability insure for certain breeds of dogs. If you have one of those breeds without the insurance and want to move to a certain state that does not allow certain breeds without it, you can be prevented from moving to the area you wish with your four-legged pal. Even some apartment buildings, rental homes and condos require this type of insurance in order to rent out a place for your and your pal to live happily. Without the coverage, it raises a red flag to the rental service, which could cause your rental application to be denied. After all, rental companies like to protect themselves and other renters from unnecessary chaos and damage that could potentially harm them in anyway.
#3 Coverage for Property Damage: If your furry pup for some odd reason escapes your care for a short period, you will wish you had liability insurance for it. This is especially true if it decides to take an adventure without you to dig a hole in your neighbor’s yard or garden, or decides to chew and scratch the heck out of a stranger’s favorite yard décor piece. With liability coverage, you will not have to pay out of pocket expenses to cover the cost of that damage in the event your dog is reported. We all know our dog has have their own mind and tend to make messes wherever the choice even when it is not in their own yard.
For more information on this important topic, please call AWOIP at 1-800-673-2558 or 717-630-1030 or go to are website at awoiponline.com for the dog bite liability insurance.

There are so many animals that need homes that it seems impossible to have enough animal shelters and rescue clubs. It is also hard for the ones that exist to keep operating if they do not have the funds. Nevertheless, there are options available with grants from various organizations that will help out by providing your non-profit organization a grant. There are plenty of funding that can be found for shelters trying to find homes for animals and wildlife rescues.
Bernice Barbour Foundation
This foundation was developed after an animal advocate that aimed to protect animal rights and to improve their lives. Up to $900,000 is given out each year to assist rescue groups and veterinary research institutes along with animal shelters. You can receive health and wellness assistance, veterinary medical assistance and even wildlife rehabilitation through this foundation.
Maddies Fund
This grant was named after a miniature Schnauzer who’s care givers wanted to name the foundation after her in support of her love. They aim to help senior pet adoptions and medical treatment for homeless pets in animal shelters. They strive to get the word out by the use of television ads to promote adoption, particularly for older cats and dogs as they tend to be the last adopted.
Animal Assistance Foundation
Assistance from this foundation is for non-profit organizations that provide animal care and shelter for animals needing a home. This grant will assist with paying for medical care and getting cats and dogs spayed and neutered. They provide assistance to keep shelters running so that the animals are safe and healthy.
These are just a few of the grants available for animal shelters to make sure that the homeless dogs and cats can see a brighter tomorrow in a loving home. Those funding wildlife rescues provide assistance to give these animals a second chance at life in a safe environment.

There’s nothing that takes a greater toll on pet owners than realizing they can’t afford to feed their pets. Animal food banks are a great way to make sure the pets continue to get the proper nutrition while the pet owners work to get back on their feet.
If you want to help local pets by creating an animal food bank, you’ll be pleased to know the process isn’t terribly difficult.
Create a Business Plan
You might be starting the animal food bank out of the kindness of your heart, you still need to approach it the same way you would any other business which means you’ll need a business plan. Not only will the business plan help you address issues such as how to market the animal food bank and where you’ll store supplies but it also allows you to apply for non-profit certification and approach people and businesses about donations of time, money, and supplies.
Elements of your business plan should include;
• recipient eligibility
• How to attract volunteers
• Startup costs
• Long term costs
• Services provided

Apply for Non-Profit Status
One of the first things you need to do when creating an animal food bank is enlisting the aid of a lawyer and filing the paperwork the food bank needs in order to qualify for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. This allows you to accept financial and food gifts and also helps you qualify for grants.
Keep Things Simple
It’s easy to have grandiose plans when you decide to start an animal food bank, but in the beginning you should keep things small and simple. Set up one day a week or month when in need pet owners can pick up the things they need. You can expand the number of pet owners you work with and the number of distribution days later.
Once you have decided how frequently you’re going to distribute and where the distributions will take place, you will need to create a schedule so at need pet owners know when they can pick up the supplies their pets need.
It’s encouraging to know that the number of animal food banks all over the country have been steadily increasing. Hopefully, this will go a long way towards making sure responsible pet owners who have fallen on hard times never have to make tough decisions regarding their pets.