Proven Strategies

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People, Pets, and Policies: Towards Community Supported Animal Sheltering

In this town hall, we reviewed new ways to engage your community, keep pets with their families, and increase lifesaving. We heard from a panel of experts covering topics from the People, Pets, and Policies: Towards Community Supported Animal Sheltering manual. This manual is a collaboration between International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) and Best Friends Animal Society that seeks to reconcile the fiscal and logistical realities faced by local governments with the goal of reducing pet euthanasia and expanding opportunities to increase lifesaving and reduce costs. 

Learn about the newest trends in community supported animal sheltering to keep dogs and cats in their homes and out of our shelters. Topics covered will include tips on how to work with your city attorney, reckless owner and breed neutral dangerous dog laws, pet inclusive housing ordinances, effective community cat programs, and processes to avoid liability.  

Moderator: Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society 


  • Chuck Thompson, executive director and general counsel, International Municipal Lawyers Association 
  • Ana Schumacher, assistant county attorney, El Paso, TX 
  • Rebecca Huss, general counsel, Best Friends Animal Society 


  • Introduction & overview of the project, People, Pets, and Policies: Towards Community Supported Animal Sheltering manual by Chuck Thompson- 3:05 
  • Tips on how to work with your city or county attorney- 5:15 
  •  Why community supported sheltering?- 8:24
  • Why breed “specific” ordinances don’t work- 10:25
  • Trend toward reckless pet owner and breed neutral dangerous dog laws- 15:38 
  • Breed discrimination in housing- 16:59
  • Pet Inclusive Housing by Ana Schumacher- 18:37 
  • Keeping pets with their families- L.A. city and L.A. county pet inclusive housing ordinances- 19:58 
  • Effective community cat ordinances to increase lifesaving & decrease nuisance calls- 23:50 
  • Liability Issues- Documentation by Rebecca Huss- 34:11 
  • Ensuring proper disclosures- 40:59 

Audience Q&A  

  • Is there a way to start a community cat program without changing the ordinance? Like getting approval to pilot something outside the ordinance before asking for it to be modified?- 48:00 
  • What is the first step in removing breed bans in my community? 49:24 
  • How do you deal with property owners that don’t want TNR cats on their properties? Especially if you want to release a cat in its original area. 50:52 
  • Do you find that outdoor feeding for those cats attract more wildlife than desired? 52:35 (Note: The video freezes at 52:59 and picks back up at 53:24)


If you enjoyed this town hall, you find our complete catalog of previous and upcoming town halls here