Fall Conference For Animal Welfare Day 3: 5 Key Takeaways

Going into The Fall Virtual Conference for Animal Welfare, we brought with us some learnings and experience from the spring conference—but WHOA. The attendees—all record-breaking 1,170 of you!—really took our 3 days to the next level with your engagement and participation. Check your inbox and our Facebook page for follow-up communications, and in the meantime, here are some juicy takeaways from the last day (sob!) of the conference.

Please complete your conference evaluation if you haven’t already, and leave a comment on this blog with your fave conference moment.

Good News About Pets & Their People (& Our Goals To Help Them)

In their session on “Community-Based Animal Sheltering for a Post-COVID World,” Kristen Hassen and Lisa LaFontaine shared, on behalf of Human Animal Support Services (HASS), that human-pet relationships are stronger than ever, with about 90% of people valuing pets as human family. For HASS, getting animals into homes quickly and reducing the intake of animals living at shelters is a primary objective. They aim to bolster foster programs and increase the percentage of lost pets returning home by at least 25%. Why is this an achievable goal? Take a look at these graphics:

“Diversity Is Being Invited to the Party; Inclusion Is Being Asked to Dance”

Dr. Gena Yuvette Davis, PSYD, MBA, CCP, BCC, used the above quote to illustrate this important difference in her session, “Creating a Culture of Inclusion.”

We also loved Dr. Gena’s simple, powerful tip for those sharing in the chat: “I challenge you to use ‘I’ statements—own what you believe!”

Putting Things Into Historical Perspective

In their session on preparing for the eviction crisis, “Working to Keep People and Pets in Homes,” Amanda Arrington and Lauren Loney stressed the importance of understanding “policies that perpetuate historical and intentional racial and economic segregation, such as redlining, tax breaks, and budget/funding allocations.” The Cooper Center’s Racial Dot Map is a great tool for people new to/interested in redlining and racial segregation in the US today.

Are You a Flexibility Fan? 

Nicole Belyna, SHRM-CP, discussed the four steps for leaders seeking to tap the benefits of workplace flexibility in her session, “Shifting to a Humane Workpace.” You can begin by IDing the pain points for your employees and consider which workplace flexibility options would address those pain points. 

“Assume That Everyone Has Something To Offer”

Wise words and always a good place to start, as shared by Shafonda Davis in the panel session, “Addressing Social Justice in Animal Welfare.” (P.S. The follow-up to that quote: “Never make assumptions about a community and/or their needs.”)

Top photo: Luisa Germain and her conference buddy

Thank you to roving conference reporters Zoë Bonnell, Kelly Cunningham, and Jordan Fues, who contributed to this blog


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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