Cybersecurity in Animal Welfare: How to protect your organization

It’s a scary digital world, friends. We know we’ve got problems when even the FBI gets hacked.

But, we’re animal welfare! It’s all kittens and puppies and rainbows and happy endings, right???

People often ask me why I’m so worried about animal welfare organizations and cybersecurity. I hate to be the one to broadcast concern, but when the FTC and the BBB alert the public on fraud, and more specifically, fraud in our industry, I think it’s time to take notice:

FTC: Finding a furry friend in the era of COVID-19
BBB Scam Alert: Adopting a rescue dog? Watch out for phony fees

Could you identify a phishing attempt? Do you know to check the link in an email before opening it? 

(Do you even know HOW to check a link without opening it? Full disclosure: I didn’t for a long time either – that’s part of the reason why I’m asking.)

Do you have a plan for what happens when your organization has been hit? What’s the first thing that you do? And, unfortunately, NO, the answer is not posting to social media, “WE’VE BEEN HACKED,” although that is exactly what we all WANT to do!

These questions are just part of the reason that I am so grateful to have The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement in our lives. The Association is an amazing resource for all things animal welfare – even cybersecurity. Case in point: They listened to my concerns and said, “Let’s do something about it!” 

So, we are! I hope you will join me and some cybersecurity experts for “The Technology Deep Dive: Cybersecurity in Animal Welfare.” This special roundtable Unmuted Session is hosted by Petfinder and will take place on December 7 during Looking Ahead: The Future of Animal Welfare. We will talk through what happens when your animal welfare organization is targeted in cyberspace and what to do about it. We’ll also go through how to educate staff and volunteers, and what best practices are free and easy to implement TODAY. 

“Technology Deep Dive: Cybersecurity in Animal Welfare” will follow the general session “Technology: Your Mission’s New BFF,” in which experts will discuss how technology will impact the future of our profession. Two more reasons to register for Looking Ahead: The Future of Animal Welfare and join us this December 7-9.

More On The Conference Sessions

3 Ways to Be A More Effective Humane Enforcement Officer
3 Ways to Make Sure Your Hiring Practices Aren’t Outdated
Conference Brochure: Looking Ahead: The Future of Animal Welfare

Photo: Markus Spiske on Unsplash


Jessica Arnold has spent most of her career in fundraising but is currently on the giving side of the equation. As Member Success and Engagement Manager for Purina and Petfinder, she supports non-profit shelters and rescues throughout the United States through technolog, product, and financial contributions. This role has given her the best of two worlds: her passion for animal welfare and supporting charitable partners. She believes we all need to play a role to ensure nonprofit organizations can continue to fill needs that for-profits and our government agencies cannot and do not.


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