Posted January 05, 2020 at 09:00 AM Under "Community Cat Management"
Dumping Grounds

Our local open-admission shelter has been "no-kill" for more than 10 years, but apparently not everyone in the community knows it. We still have to deal with dumped cats, and there are some popular dumping grounds in the area. Has anyone ever tried to mitigate the situation with a sign that informs citizens that the shelter is open admission, no-kill, no surrender fee? Maybe with opening hours? I was even thinking of contact information of a transport volunteer if the person does not want to go to the shelter him/her self?

A woman who owns a horse barn just outside of town told me that that she is so tired of people dumping their cats (and occasionally dogs and rabbits), that she was thinking of setting up cameras and signs informing about the cameras. I don't like this idea, because people will just dump their pets elsewhere. But this gave me the idea of signs.

Thanks for any input!

  • February 04, 2020 at 08:09 AM

    I think your idea is a great one!

    Here are a set of signs at a park and ride in Hawaii where there is a large cat colony and a problem with dumping. The signs inform people that the cats are cared for and don't need additional food as well as how a person can get involved if they want to help. The orange sign alerts people that abandoning an animal is a crime and provides who to call to get help if you are can't keep your cat.

    I've seen similar signs in other places but I am not aware of any data that's been collected on how much of a difference they make.

  • January 06, 2020 at 07:31 AM

    I like your ideas, especially the one about having a volunteer pick up the animals. What an original idea.

    I've lived in a lot of different parts of Florida, and also New England. I've discovered that in some areas it is more prevalent than others for people to dump animals.

    Erin and Anne have such good ideas.

    I believe the love of animals, or lack of begins at home early in life. If you can educate children in the schools in your area about the value of animals and how to properly care them, this could make a difference. At least for future generations. Would it help immediately for your cause right now? One could hope. If you couldn't do this in schools maybe your public library would make one of their rooms available for this?

    Also if you ever have fundraising events to raise awareness about your organization you could take the opportunity, if you haven't already, to get the word out to people in your community.

    If you have local businesses in your community you can ask them to put your signs up, and you may find some more along the way to help while you are doing this.

  • January 06, 2020 at 05:48 AM

    I certainly think the signs couldn't hurt! And it sounds like at least one location (the landowner considering cameras) would give you permission to post them. You could always do a 'trial run' for the signs on her property and see if that makes a difference?

    I also think the idea of attending neighborhood events - or even going door-to-door with a brochure or something - could be really helpful too. Even if you aren't reaching the people who are dumping animals... you're probably reaching someone(s) who knows them and (in my experience) almost no one gets rid of a pet without discussing it with someone in advance.

    We certainly get some dumped pets, but I think the more common problem in my area is pets (mostly cats) getting left behind during foreclosures or moves, etc pensive face. The bigger shelter in our area has a "Pets for Life" branch that does go door-to-door and is more involved in events in specific neighborhoods, and has seen progress (with spay/neuter, help keeping pets in homes, rehoming, etc).

  • January 06, 2020 at 05:38 AM

    Where are you and how did you accomplish such a wonderful feat as an open intake, no-kill shelter begging people to bring you animals?! It makes me cry with happiness that there is such a place! We're in Texas and it's a pit, but getting better little by little.

    Perhaps I am not understanding you. What I read is that you want to inform the public to bring their unwanted pets and any other domestic anmals they find to you. I realize you are interested in other people's exerience, but I may be able to speak for most of us, at least in the South: we've never had any experience with this! I run a small, closed intake, cat shelter. We won't publish our location for fear of being overwhelmed--like TOMORROW. I cannot fathom having a problem like yours, but I wish I could.

    Our answer for advertising is social media. Could you also buy or beg advertising in newspaper, radio, or TV media?

    I agree with you that anything vaguely punitive, like cameras and signs about the cameras, would only cause people to dump the animals elsewhere. Signage at the popular dumping grounds with information on where to take the animals instead and perhaps a phone number people could call or text might help. A volunteer who could visit the populat dumping grounds at regular intervals and transport dumped animals to the shelter would be a good idea.

    I am suggesting answers to problems I cannot imagine having, so I could be totally off track here.

  • January 05, 2020 at 03:32 PM

    In order to assist you would you clarify the following: Are you a County facility? Rabies control? What state? Do you have an Auxiliary? Thank you

    • January 05, 2020 at 08:57 PM

      I am TNR coordinator and volunteer of said shelter, which is a non-profit Humane Society contracted by a WA county. I don't understand why you ask those questions. I am just interested in other people's experience.

  • January 05, 2020 at 09:57 AM

    Perhaps pounding the pavement by having volunteers go to neighborhood events or locations that draw a lot of the public and do some public education/awareness.

    Your shelter sounds amazing! Curious what is your protocol with those cats that are brought in and are extremely fearful and stressed (not feral cats) from being in a new location (aka outside their territory).

    • January 05, 2020 at 09:01 PM

      No different protocol than any other cat. They stay in the shelter until adopted. Sometimes it takes a long time. We had a very "moody" cat, just got adopted after over a year in the shelter. If not social enough for pet adoption, we have a small barn cat program.