This week, registration opened for the Return to Home Challenge. During October, participating organizations that handle lost/stray dogs and cats will take their efforts to get lost pets back home to the next level. Using simple practices such as microchipping, making information on lost pets easily accessible by the public, and educating the community's pet owners on what to do to ensure their pet has the best chance of getting home should they go missing. It's also about educating the community on how they can be part of the solution for any lost pets they find.
The strategies can save time, money, and of course, lives, and there's $300,000 in grant money available to participating organizations.
Seventeen national organizations are sponsoring this challenge, including Best Friends. Registration closes on August 1st, so time is of the essence for you to sign up: https://www.maddiesfund.org/return-to-home-challenge-best-friends.htm
To talk more about the challenge and the strategies that can help you get more pets back home more quickly, we spoke with Gina Knepp, the national shelter engagement director for the Michelson Found Animals Foundation.
- Return to Home Challenge website
- Best Friends network: Field Return-to-Owner Training Playbook
- Best Friends network: Return-to-Owner Training Playbook
- Best Friends network: Redefining the role of the ‘dogcatcher’
- Best Friends network: Municipal Guide for Lifesaving Policies
- Best Friends network:Mapping Made Easy: Using Data to Find Your Problems
- Best Friends network: Proven strategies - Field Services & Return to Owner
- Best Friends: Position on pet ownership limits
- American Pets Alive!: Using Technology to Increase Return to Owner - conference recording
- City of El Paso, Texas: Pet Finder GIS map
- Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Arizona: No Lost Pets MC Twitter feed
national shelter engagement director, Michelson Found Animals Foundation
Gina Knepp is the national shelter engagement director for the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Her primary focus is increasing the return-to-home rate by engaging animal sheltering organizations in finding innovative ways of locating missing pet people and, even more important, helping people to avoid losing their pets to begin with. Gina’s background includes managing the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California.
Her experience leading a municipal open-intake, high-volume shelter adds to her passion for helping lost animals get back home where they belong. Previously, she managed high-volume call centers to include 911 and 311.
Gina is on the board of directors of the California Animal Welfare Association, and she is on the executive committee of Human Animal Support Services (HASS), a project affiliated with American Pets Alive that deals with national animal shelter reform.