Since its inception on May 17, a help desk also known as Support Options Solutions (S.O.S.) at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) has diverted 32 animals from being surrendered to the shelter. S.O.S is organized by No Kill Pima County (NKPC) and staffed by NKPC and PACC volunteers only 8-11 hours a week. The goal is to have it staffed during all open shelter hours. More volunteers are needed to reach this goal.
An anonymous donor has pledged to match all monetary donations made to No Kill Pima County up to $2500 to support the S.O.S. help desk now through July 9. Some of the efforts of S.O.S. include counseling owners about other options to surrendering an animal to the shelter such as training, re-homing the animal themselves and keeping found pets until owners are found.
“We talk with them outside the intake door and ask if there is something we can do to help so they do not have to drop the animal off where it is terribly crowded, stressful and includes many risk factors for the animal” says Marcie Velen, Chair of No Kill Pima County.
The NKPC/PACC volunteers have found some will agree to keep a found pet while the owner is sought and some will agree to help find a new home for that animal if the owner doesn't surface. Volunteers also offer supplies and available resources such as food, cat litter, a free vet visit if they are concerned about the animal’s health but haven't been to a vet and thanks to Spay Neuter Intervention Project (S.N.I.P.) help with spay/neuter for cats. Volunteers also educate people bringing cats in traps about the more effective, humane and free alternative of Trap, Neuter and Return for feral cats.
S.O.S can provide resources for short term problems such as training referrals, assistance with finding a place to live that allows pets or bully breeds, assistance with a pet deposit, assistance fixing their fence so a dog cannot jump out or dig under and some short term assistance with medical care. The hope is that owners can keep their pet with help. No Kill Pima County is developing resources in the community that will give discounted rates on services that can help owners who really care about their pets and really want to keep them.
Other cities providing shelter intervention or diversion services find anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent will change their mind at the intake door. S.O.S. is at a 20 percent diversion rate in the first 3 weeks.
Donations can be made online at nokillpimacounty.org. Choose Donate to Owner Retention/SOS Help Desk. Checks can be mailed to No Kill Pima County P.O. Box 86231 Tucson, AZ 85754. Please indicate S.O.S. on check