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Franklin County Humane Society: REDI Training Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The REDI grant offered us a unique opportunity to review the biases we each hold about potential adopters and members of our community who are seeking assistance. Many of our staff commented that they had never participated in this type of training and admitted that they were skeptical about it.

Ironically, several staff members have come to work with us through the court system, initially working with us to fulfill community-service hours as part of their probation or participation in drug court. The training helped us recognize or remember that we've all been affected by the biases of others. For some, it served as a reminder of the systemic and pervasive nature of the biases we each carry.

We've been working hard to move toward an open adoptions model and have removed many of the traditional obstacles to adoption that impacted the adoption of some of our harder-to-place animals. As a result, we're having more success finding homes for those animals and finding adopters and supporters in places we might have missed.

We're also learning about new approaches to animal surrenders. We've partnered with some local agencies to offer assistance to families in transition by providing veterinary care and temporary housing of animals in need. This is a drastic change for us as, in the past, we'd have merely taken in the animal with a bias toward not returning it to the "irresponsible" owner. Now we strive to meet people where they are and let them tell us how we can help and what they need.

How many pets did this grant help?

As many as 25-30 pets will be helped due to the impact the training provided with this grant will have on our staff.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Several agencies reached out to us about a small family living in a tent. This family had been cited by animal control officers for tying their dog up outside a local men’s shelter. The family was trying to access food.

We were asked to intervene and remove the dog, but instead chose to offer them assistance and temporary housing for their dog. They were understandably reluctant to let us take their dog out of fear that we wouldn’t return her to them.

After several attempts and lots of reassurance from us and others who had benefitted from this, they agreed to have their dog stay with us temporarily.

We made sure all our staff understood what we were doing and why and have now housed this dog on three occasions as this family works to find their footing in the community. We provide pets like this with food, vaccinations, flea and tick preventative, and overnight housing when needed.

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