Effective Advocacy Works! (Part II) by Claudine Vass

The blog “Effective Advocacy Works” (Part I) was published during city elections in April because the community finally saw the change that they had been hoping to see. It took a while but it happened. Advocacy is definitely long and arduous. It has also been proven to have an intangible effect.  We found the best example in the recent most unforgiving natural disaster Hurricane Harvey.

In the course of a catastrophic event when thousands of impounded animals were subject to be euthanized due to lack of space, the most prudent course of action for an advocacy group is not to instantly become a rescue group to pull animals out of shelters without a well established plan to provide funding for vetting, foster homes, and all other required services to see things through for the animals that were in need. Our work is additive, not duplicative. Our unique accomplishments during the hurricane were achieved by sharing information and connecting dots within communities and providing a few missing links.

Our vast network that includes rescue groups, individual pet loving citizens and national animal welfare organizations, has become one of the structures for the mentioned groups to share ownership of a common goal, that is to save lives of animals during Hurricane Harvey. Our invaluable network put people and organizations in need with national animal welfare groups there were ready to give assistance.  After voluminous communication back and forth, we helped make “lots  of good stuff” happen as described by Becky Robinson, President of Alley Cat Allies. Becky’s strong passion and determination to provide help in our area was most likely the only relief multiple groups received during such an overwhelming time. The help Alley Cat Allies provided to our area was uplifting, life saving and long lasting. Organizations that received assistance from Alley Cat Allies through our efforts were “SPOT in Wharton”, “A Life to Live” in Baytown and the “SPCA of Brazoria County” in Lake Jackson.

As Christine Stransky with S.P.O.T Wharton said, after the contact was initiated by Fort Bend Pets Alive!, the help they received from Alley Cat Allies, Austin Pets Alive! was “absolutely fantastic”. Christine described the help was personal.  Her organization received a disaster emergency grant issued by Alley Cat Allies on top of 24 cats being transported to safety in a short period of time. Christine is very grateful and has the vision to see these new relationships growing into more collaboration. She finds partnerships being very invaluable in her plan to save more lives.  Besides the $1,500 emergency donation given by Fort Bend Pets Alive!, “A Life to Live in Baytown” also received grant money and supplies from Alley Cat Allies. The combined efforts made it possible for “A Life to Live” to save the lives of animals displaced by major flooding in Baytown and the surrounding area. Municipal shelters in Fort Bend County such as Rosenberg Animal Shelter and Fort Bend County Animal Services received an abundant supply of food, pet necessities and fund from Gadsden Humane Society Pet Rescue & Adoption Center in Alabama. Furthermore, we were able to distribute 1,500 lb of pet food to two neighborhoods.

~To be continued



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