Every day, the Dumb Friends League receives an average of 57 homeless animals. Some have been turned in as lost and will be reclaimed by their owners. Some won't be reclaimed and are put up for adoption. Other animals are relinquished by their owners for a variety of reasons: moving, allergies, financial burden, illness, behavior and the birth of an unwanted litter are just a few. Still others have been seized by law enforcement as victims of abuse or neglect. There is no way to characterize a homeless animal, as their backgrounds are as different as the colors of their coats. But they all have one thing in common: the need to love and be loved.
The Roath Medical Center at our Quebec Street Shelter is a state-of-the-art medical and surgical center. Animals at our shelters are lovingly cared for by a team of compassionate veterinarians, veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians.
Our foster program nurtured 2,533 pets in fiscal year 2018 helping cats and dogs heal from surgery, overcome fear or behavior issues. League volunteers bring pets from our shelters into their homes on a temporary basis to prepare them for adoption. We know fostering can sometimes be a challenging experience-in the love that's invested, the commitment involved, and, eventually, in saying goodbye to a pet that's been nurtured for an extended period of time. But foster parents truly make a difference: Every pet that's fostered has a better chance at a happier and healthier life ahead with a forever family.
Our in-shelter behavior training for homeless pets resulted in thousands of cats, dogs and rabbits getting the extra help they need to become better candidates for adoption. Investment in behavior training also helps keep adopted pets in homes, ultimately contributing to fewer homeless pets in shelters. In FY18, 6,559 pets received behavior support.
Of course, we are happiest when we find forever homes for the animals in our care. Our adoption package for cats and dogs includes spay/neuter surgery, microchip ID, collar, tag, leash, carrier, pre-adoption health screening, free office visit to a participating veterinarian, and free 14-day post-adoption health support.
Each year, we welcome more than 20,000 homeless pets to our shelters. As an open-admission organization, we turn no animal away, regardless of age, temperament or medical condition. At the Harmony Equine Center we accepted more than 300 horses into our program from law enforcement, partner organizations or as owner surrenders. At the end of fiscal year 2018, we placed 100% of healthy and safe cats, dogs and horses.
Children (4-12 years)
As part of our goal to offer convenient, affordable spay and neuter opportunities for pets and reduce pet overpopulation, we have two mobile spay/neuter vehicles that travel throughout underserved areas. Our Meow Mobile is a state-of-the-art mobile spay/neuter clinic that gives the Dumb Friends League the mobility to offer spay and neuter services for cats in underserved areas of metro Denver at no charge, subsidized by our donors.
Our Lulu Mobile offers mobile spay/neuter services for dogs in underserved areas. The two mobile units performed a total of 6,075 surgeries last year and more than 82,000 surgeries since inception. In fiscal year 2018 the Lulu Mobile performed 3,312 surgeries and the Meow Mobile performed 2,763.
Both clinics are staffed with veterinarians who are licensed in the state of Colorado to perform the surgeries. Others are on the staff of the Dumb Friends League.
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce the number of cats on our streets and in shelters the Dumb Friends League opened Solutions - Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic offering fully subsidized (no-cost) spay/neuter surgeries for all Colorado cats, including owned cats, feral cats, trap-neuter-return (TNR) cats and community cats. Anyone can bring a cat to the clinic for spay/neuter surgery, regardless of income. In fiscal year 2018 Solutions performed 10,932 spay/neuter surgeries.
The Roath Medical Center at our Quebec Street Shelter is a state-of-the-art medical and surgical center that features four prep tables, three surgery tables, two dental X-ray machines, a digital dental X-ray machine and a digital full-body X-ray machine. Animals at our two shelters are lovingly cared for by a team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians and assistants.
Our veterinary team performed 2,091 dental surgeries last year, relieving cats and dogs from long-standing pain related to dental disease. Other common surgeries included spay/neuter, mass removal, orthopedic and wound-repair surgeries. Last year, 8,086 spay/neuter surgeries were performed on newly adopted pets at our shelters.
Solutions Veterinary Hospital
In October 2018 PetAid Animal Hospital became Dumb Friends League Solutions - Veterinary Hospital. Not only will their long-standing mission to provide veterinary care to under served pets continue, Solutions Veterinary Hospital is poised to meet the growing demand for these services throughout our community. Most importantly, these services will alleviate and prevent animal suffering while enhancing the dignity of all served.
Importantly, we work collaboratively with local, regional and national veterinarians to help pets with special circumstances, and appreciate the support of organizations like the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, and institutions such as Colorado State University, among others, in our efforts to ensure the well-being of our animals.
All told, more than 82,000 surgeries have been logged since the 2005 introduction of our community-wide, high-volume, high-quality mobile spay/neuter program. The number of pets helped represents a team effort by our hosts, our employees and volunteers, and the veterinarians who donate their time on the Lulu and Meow Mobiles.
Last year, our Solutions - Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic performed 10,932 surgeries for owner and community cats at no cost.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Behavior Advice and Education for Pet Owners
Our Animal Behavior program helps pet owners have positive relationships with their pets through the sharing of best behavior practices. In FY18 we provided in-house behavior training to 6,559 pets. Additionally, we collaborate with other Colorado shelters that have homeless pets with behavior issues. By bringing these pets to the Dumb Friends League for behavior support, we can give them the best possible chance of being adopted.
And finally, our behavior specialists work daily to provide training and enrichment to the pets at our shelters, making their stay with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Ultimately, keeping pets in homes by educating owners as well as pets will help us achieve our mission of ending pet homelessness and animal suffering.
Humane Education for the Community
The goal of our humane education program is to promote kindness, compassion and responsible choices about companion animals. We believe this investment in education is directly related to reducing future cases of neglect, cruelty and misunderstanding of pet behavior, all of which can lead to homeless animals.
This year, we brought our messages to 18,235 children and adults through 739 programs and shelter tours. Our offerings included:
• Community education - we offer 17 lessons to children in preschool and older, adults, and to community groups. Our community programs are free and available throughout the Denver metro area and beyond, year-round.
• Animal Adventure - an in-depth, six-week program covering a variety of animal welfare-related topics.
• Critter Camp - popular multi-day camps for elementary and middle-school students that teach compassion and respect through working with shelter pets and learning about animal welfare.
• Junior Volunteer Clubs - youths ages 12-15 are mentored by adult volunteers in various shelter departments. We have two clubs specifically focusing on enrichment for our cats and small mammals, and a third club for all homeless pets.
By teaching humanity toward all living things, our humane education program is helping to instill values that can prevent bullying, reduce violence and make a better world for animals and people.
In our behavior programs, we track the number of appointments scheduled through our behavior helpline, number of pets enrolled in our in-shelter behavior programs, as well as a decrease in relinquishment of pets. In our youth and community programs, we can see the changes in the attendees throughout their time in our classes or programs. We also receive reports from parents and counselors that tell us our programs are impactful.
Protecting companion animals and horses from acts of mistreatment or neglect is an integral part of our mission. Our goal is to educate pet and equine owners, and help them bring the care of their animals into compliance with the law. Working with local law enforcement agencies, Dumb Friends League investigators responded to 675 cases involving more than 1,706 animals.
Our animal-welfare investigators responded to reports involving more than 1,700 animals. As a community, we can report acts of animal mistreatment or neglect, speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Each time we investigate a case or assist another shelter or agency in responding to a natural disaster, we know immediately we are making a difference in the lives of the displaced, mistreated or neglected pets that might not otherwise have had the opportunity for a second chance.
The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center is a private rehabilitation and adoption facility for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that have been removed from owners' care by law enforcement authorities. It also serves as a centralized hub where horses from humane societies and rescue groups in the Midwest and southwestern United States can receive training and re-homing.
In March of 2018 the Harmony Equine Center began opening its doors to privately owned horses in need of rehoming. Harmony is piloting a rehoming adoption program for up to 150 equines over the next 12 months. Managing the number of intakes will ensure proper care, training and placement of surrendered equines and allow Harmony to manage the number of intakes to allow proper space for law enforcement cases.
The professional staff oversees up to 100 horses at a time at the 168-acre facility, which includes three barns, 26 pastures and turnouts, two indoor riding arenas and an education center. At the center, equines find relief from suffering and opportunities for new lives. Top-quality care and gentle training are provided by a knowledgeable, professional staff.
The Harmony Equine Center received accreditation by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)--only the third facility in the state of Colorado to achieve this level of accreditation. Impressively, the center met 100 percent of CHA's mandatory requirements and 98% of recommended requirements on its first attempt. The CHA's accreditation sets high standards for the safety of equestrian programs throughout the horse industry.
Horses and other equines at the Harmony Equine Center are evaluated for rehabilitation and potential adoption. The evaluation criteria follow a set of standards established by local equine and animal welfare professionals. The standards take into account the animals' medical and behavioral needs, their long-term prognosis for quality of life and their potential for adoption to new owners.
Horses that are candidates for rehabilitation receive the therapy they need to help them thrive. Veterinarian-approved treatment plans restore their health. Gentle, structured behavior programs help them overcome fear memories, develop new social skills, gain self-confidence and learn to trust.
Rehabilitation efforts may take weeks or months, but it's all worth it: The Harmony Equine Center saved 304 horse, ponies, donkeys and mules in FY18, giving them a second chance at the lives they deserve.