Letter from the President

May Letter From the President

Dear Friends,

I hope you’re gearing up for a busy, productive summer! Having spent most of my adult life in and around animal shelters, I know the pace of work for most of you is ramping up. Thankfully, for many of our members, intake numbers are trending downward. In some regions of the U.S., overpopulation is little more than a memory.

I’m certain I’m not alone in my amazement at the accomplishments we’ve made as an industry. Through decades of blood, sweat and tears the soldiers on the front line of animal welfare and animal care and control have made immense strides. I honestly never believed that within my own lifetime I would see communities experiencing a shortage of available pets for adoption. But, in some places, that’s the reality, and some communities are even going so far as to transport cats in for adoption!

As we celebrate our success, we must be ever mindful of the fact that there are still large sections of the country grappling with too many dogs and cats and not enough homes. Due to climatic, socio-economic and other factors, there are large swaths of the U.S. where the folks working in shelters and rescues are still struggling to keep their heads above water. And, until the plight of companion animals is resolved everywhere, our work is not close to being finished.

Even when pet overpopulation is no longer one of our top concerns, the work will continue. We will likely always need to provide safe housing and care to animals cast off by owners no longer willing or able to care for them. The cost will continue to go up as we deal with animals who require more intensive care — both medically and behaviorally — prior to being made available for permanent placement.

Sadly, cruelty cases will continue and there will remain a need to rescue animals from distress created by neglect, abuse or natural disasters.

We will continue to expand our role as the authority on animal issues in our communities and will remain centers of learning where people can expand their hearts and minds around building a kinder world.

Our Conference Committee is working on a panel discussion for our November Annual Conference to talk about the evolution of our business. What an exciting topic to have on our plates!

In the meantime, I look forward to connecting with many of you at our Management Conference in Long Beach, CA next month! The committee has put together a terrific line-up of presenters and topics to keep our creative juices flowing. And, as always, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones. As you’ve heard me say repeatedly, SAWA’s true strength is in its network!

I’d like to close with a special word of thanks to our friends at Bayer Animal Health who have made it possible for the SAWA “Road Show” to become a reality this spring. In the first few months of the year we’ve had a presence at the Animal Care Conference in Sacramento, CA, the New England Federation of Humane Societies in Springfield, MA, Texas Unites for Animals in Austin, TX and at Animal Care Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We’ve had the opportunity to network with so many more of our colleagues by taking SAWA “to the people”! Keep your eyes peeled for us at an event near you in the months ahead.

All the best as you continue your life-saving work!

Jim Tedford

Jim Tedford

Jim Tedford, CAWA, is President and CEO of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

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