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Pet retention. Diversion programs. These are terms you'll hear as ways to prevent animals from entering the shelter in the first place. It makes sense, doesn't it? If cats and dogs are currently in a home or being cared for and thriving outside (in the case of community cats), why burden a shelter if solutions can be found to keep the animal in its current home?

You can learn more about innovative strategies to keep people and their companion animals together  at Michigan Pet Fund Alliance's No Kill Conference,   Getting to the Goal , on  September 27-28 at the  Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center: 
  • presented by Alice Burton - Every day, animal shelters are being flooded with what concerned citizens think are stray cats for the wrong reason. These cats are safe and living a humane life within the community while being taken care of by responsible caregivers. Alice, an Animal Control Officer and TNR convert, will cover how to educate the public and put their minds at ease when they contact you about these cats. Learn why the cats are healthy and safe and should stay within the community. See what other shelters are doing to keep community cats with their owners/caregivers, instead of the cats being relinquished as owner surrenders. This session will help you reduce your intake numbers and euthanasia numbers while helping you focus on increasing your adoption and live release rate.


Alice Burton
Alice Burton
Alice Burton  is with Alley Cat Allies as Associate Director of Animal Shelter and Animal Control Engagement. Alice has helped many municipal leaders, animal control agencies, and shelters adopt successful Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs. She brings a wealth of experience and insight to her work. Alice served as chief of animal control at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, where she worked for 14 years. She and her team of officers initially had been skeptical of TNR. Then her shelter offered to carry out TNR for community cats rather than impound them. It was then that Alice and her staff witnessed the benefits of TNR firsthand. Within months, calls about cats to her agency dropped off substantially. Over time, the benefits of TNR proved even more dramatic. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of calls to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington plummeted 95 percent, from 913 to 47. The cats were healthy and thriving. The public embraced the shelter for implementing TNR. Animal control officers (ACOs) began working with community cat caregivers, and Alice and her ACOs became convinced that TNR was sound public policy. Alice travels around the nation to share her knowledge and expertise on issues and approaches to save cats and help communities. She has talked with state and local officials, shelter staff, and ACOs about how they can adopt TNR programs successfully. She is a frequent speaker at events and conferences on how TNR, spay and neuter, microchipping, neonatal kitten 'Wait Until 8' programs, and more can save cats and transform communities. Alice received the Virginia Animal Control Association's Public Service Award in 2014. She was twice nominated as Animal Control Officer of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. She also received a recognition of appreciation from the Arlington County Public Schools for her work in humane education. Alice sits on the board of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies (VFHS). In 2017, she was elected to the board of directors at the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA). Alice enjoys spending time with her two adopted cats, Captain Bobby and Misha, and Edgar the Wonder Turtle.  
Alley Cat Allies

Alice Burton's sessions are sponsored by Alley Cat Allies, the global engine of change for cats. "We protect and improve cats' lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. We work toward a world where every cat is valued and protected and every community and shelter has policies and programs to save their lives".

Jennifer Clarkson
Jennifer Clarkson
Jennifer Clarkson is the Board President and Executive Director of Dog Aide in the city of Detroit. Dog Aide's mission is to educate dog owners, identify needs of the community and supply owners with needed items to care for their pets. Dog Aide is a collaborative partner in the development of Project GRACE which facilitates free spay/neuter programs, along with vaccinations and microchips, to owned dogs in Detroit. Jennifer sat on the reform committee for Detroit Animal Care and Control and continues to volunteer her time at the shelter under new management, helping to develop their transfer program. Through Dog Aide, Jennifer has been able to provide guidance and structure development for others around the nation to develop their own outreach programs. She also volunteers on a national basis with the Humane Society of the United States. Jen has a background in health care, including long term care as a nursing home administrator and emergency medicine as an emergency medical technician. She earned her BS from Central Michigan University in community development.

Kelly McLaughlin
Kelly McLaughlin
Kelly McLaughlin is the President of Bark Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization focusing on shelter intervention, shelter enrichment and ending canine cruelty. Kelly has held multiple roles in animal welfare since her launch into the field in 2011, including nonprofit rescue, shelter behavior, large-scale cruelty, shelter management and, most recently, Director of Detroit Animal Care and Control. In her current role with Bark Nation, Kelly is building out their anti-cruelty initiatives in Michigan, mainly dogfighting, and tackling ensuring all survivors have a fair chance at #LifeAfterDogfighting. Throughout the last 7 years, Kelly has found immense value in a multi-faceted approach to animal welfare in under-served communities, including sheltering best practices, innovative live-release efforts, progressive field response, enforcement, anti-cruelty initiatives, solutions-oriented community outreach and targeted diversion programs. By employing a collaboration-oriented approach, Kelly believes comprehensive shelter diversion programs have the potential to reinvent safe, humane communities and drastically lower euthanasia rates of homeless dogs in shelters. Kelly is CPDT-KA certified, loves nerding out on humane field response and shelter behavior, and is the proud mom of three pit bull type pups - Mack, Zander and Taco.

Full conference information including schedule, speakers, sessions, sponsors and accommodations can be found  here

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Animal Control employment postings

Berrien County
Berrien County Animal Control  in Benton Harbor, MI is hiring a kennel supervisor and a kennel worker.  The job postings are  here

Tuscola County
Tuscola County Animal Control Shelter in Caro, MI is seeking a Director of Animal Control. The position is full time with full county benefits. The county wishes to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. View the posting here

About Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
The single mission of Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is to stop the killing of healthy and treatable homeless cats and dogs in Michigan shelters. 
MPFA is an all-volunteer organization collaborating with shelter and rescue organizations to achieve No Kill through training, technical  assistance,
 education and advocacy.
For more information: 
877-FUR-PALS  (877-387-7257)
Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization as defined by the IRS (EIN 20-0399162) and is a  Guidestar Exchange Gold Participant.

Guidestar Gold

 Contributions are tax deductible. 

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