Million Cat Challenge comes to Michigan 
Million Cat Challenge
The Million Cat Challenge and its five key initiatives will be session options at the 2016 Getting to the Goal conference.

The sessions include:

Million Cat Challenge Overview - The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of one million cats in North America over the next five years.  A joint project of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, it is led by Drs. Kate Hurley and Julie Levy.  The core strategy of the campaign focuses on five key initiatives that offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and to increase live outcomes for shelter cats. Christie Keith, Million Cat Challenge; Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida

Million Cat Challenge: Alternatives to Intake - Is entering an animal shelter always the best option for a cat? There will always be cats who need sheltering, but for many cats, there are better, more appropriate alternatives that will serve cat, community, and shelter better. And if the answer is no, shelters have an ample and expanding toolbox of alternatives to offer. Providing alternatives to intake can be a great choice for shelters that are limited in their capacity to provide humane care or assure live outcomes once a cat is admitted. In most parts of North America, there is no legal requirement for shelters to impound every healthy cat presented to them. By providing alternatives to intake for healthy cats, shelters with limited capacity can reserve their efforts for the sick, injured, orphaned and dangerous animals that most need the shelter's care.   Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida; Ayse Dunlap, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Million Cat Challenge: Managed Admission - Managed admission is distinct from limited admission and refers to any form of regulating or scheduling intake, from simply limiting the hours for drop-off and closing night drop boxes, to scheduled intake appointments, to a formal process of surrender interviews with extensive efforts at providing support and alternatives. In short, managed admission can be thought of as the "how" and "when" of intake, but not necessarily the "who."  Even shelters with an obligation to take in all animals presented to them (either by law, contract or policy) can benefit greatly from scheduling intake to smooth out fluctuations, plan for staffing and match capacity to provide humane care. Far from meaning more animals will be turned away, for both limited- and open-intake shelters managed admission is often associated with serving more, rather than fewer, animals over time. Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida; Ayse Dunlap, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Million Cat Challenge: Capacity for Care - Capacity for care (C4C), considered holistically, means meeting the needs of each cat admitted to a shelter, whether feral or friendly, stray or owner surrendered, young or old. The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare provide a framework to define what it means to meet the needs of any animal in confinement. Assuring capacity for care also supports success in meeting a Sixth Freedom, the freedom from euthanasia for cats that are neither terminally ill nor dangerous. Providing high quality housing and minimizing length of stay through pro- active management are two key factors in assuring capacity for care for every cat in the shelter. Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida; Tanya Hilgendorf, Humane Society of Huron Valley

Million Cat Challenge: Removing Barriers to Adoption - In most communities, we simply can't afford to provide unlimited care for every cat who is temporarily without a home, or find a traditionally defined "perfect forever home" for every cat, of every temperament and in any condition, who might appear on a shelter's doorstep. It's the job of shelters to prepare cats for adoption and then move them out as quickly as possible into permanent homes. In many cases, the quality of life in a home, even an imperfect one, is better than a cat's experience in a shelter.   Susan Cosby, Petco Foundation; Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida

Million Cat Challenge: Return to Field - In traditional trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs, community cats are trapped and transported directly to a spay/neuter clinic, where they are sterilized, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification. Following recovery, the cats are returned to the location where they were trapped to live out their lives without producing any more kittens. TNR programs have been shown to decrease colony size through attrition, and even to eliminate colonies entirely in some cases. Recently, growing popularity of Return To Field (RTF) programs stems from the recognition that neuter-return is appropriate for most healthy unowned cats that are thriving in the community, regardless of whether they have entered a shelter. A combination of both community-based traditional TNR and shelter-based RTF creates the greatest opportunity to maximize cat welfare, reduce nuisance concerns, and minimize reproduction. Dr. Julie Levy, Maddie's Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida; Dr. Diana Newman, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance; Renee Jarackas, All About Animals Rescue; Amy Wettlaufer, All About Animals Rescue

Meet the presenters:

Susan Cosby
Susan Cosby
Susan Cosby  serves as the Petco Foundation's Director of Lifesaving Programs and Partnerships overseeing the alignment and forward progress of both the adoption and investment (grants) programs. Prior to joining the Foundation her experience included CEO, Executive Director and other leadership roles for both open and limited admission, public animal control and private shelters. Throughout her career she has utilized customer focused, data driven strategies, and a sense of urgency to improve organizational performance and increase lives saved.

Ayse Dunlap
Ayse Dunlap
Ayse Dunlap has worked in animal welfare for 18 years and joined the Cleveland APL in 2006.   Prior to her time in Cleveland, she worked at Chicago's Animal Care and Control, PAWS Chicago, and the Animal Humane Association in New Mexico.  At the Cleveland APL, Ayse oversees operations including the admissions, adoptions, shelter wellness, veterinary, humane investigations, and TNR programs that assist more than 14,000 animals annually.  She also oversees the APL's newest program, project CARE (Community Animal Retention Effort), which is focused on creating proactive initiatives to help keep pets in their homes. Ayse currently has one dog and three cats.  All three cats were foster failures.  Maybe one day she'll learn not to foster cats.

Tanya Hilgendorf and Georgia
Tanya Hilgendorf
Tanya Hilgendorf has been leading HSHV for over 10 years. With a BA in Political Science from University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Masters in Social Work Administration and Public Policy from Wayne State University and having served as Executive Director of Ozone House, her passion centers on protecting the vulnerable (human and non-human animals) and transformational leadership that helps failing nonprofit organizations achieve mission success. With an incredible team of staff, volunteers, and supporters, HSHV built a state of the art facility and has become a thriving, dynamic animal welfare organization with a multi-service organization, with 100+ employees, 700+ volunteers, and a 95% save rate focused on rescuing, healing, saving and protecting. Tanya currently is the proud mom of several fabulous felines and a beautiful teenaged human.
Renee Jarackas
Renee Jarackas
Renee Jarackas has been in the veterinary field since 1986 and has extensive husbandry experience caring for horses and chickens. She also spent several years as a wildlife rehabber for waterfowl. Her passion for animals led her to join All About Animals Rescue in 2012. She is currently the Clinic Director of the organization and is helping pave the way for the non-profit to expand its sterilization capacity and reach.  All About Animals Rescue Clinic currently performs over 20,000 spay/neuter procedures a year.

Christie Keith
Christie Keith
Christie Keith is a communications and social media consultant for a number of animal welfare and veterinary clients, including The Shelter Pet Project, Maddie's Fund, the Million Cat Challenge, the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida and Dr. Marty Becker of "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show." She is a frequent speaker at animal welfare and pet writer conferences, and is a member of the advisory board of the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance in her adopted state of Michigan.

Dr. Julie Levy
Dr. Julie Levy
Dr. Julie Levy is professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida. She is a specialist in small animal internal medicine and has published more than 100 scientific papers on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, humane alternatives for cat population control, and contraceptive vaccines for cats. She founded Operation Catnip, a university-based community cat trap-neuter-return program that has sterilized more than 45,000 cats since 1998.  In 2014, she joined Dr. Kate Hurley to launch the Million Cat Challenge, a shelter-based campaign to save a million cats in five years.

Dr. Diana Newman and Parker
Dr. Diana Newman
Dr. Diana Newman has been involved in animal welfare for many years. Although her work situations have varied, her dedication to animals has remained the same.  Dr. Newman practiced dental hygiene, served as assistant director of a low cost OB/GYN and Pediatric clinic, and for the last 15 years of her career worked at Western Michigan University as a program manager for grants from the state of Michigan and the National Science Foundation. After retirement, she became the Director of the Barry County Animal Shelter where she developed a comprehensive TNR program for the county and transformed the shelter's performance. Dr. Newman lives in Battle Creek, MI with her husband, two dogs and four cats, and usually several bottle baby kittens and fosters. Her two children, their spouses and five grandchildren live near-by and are always in awe of the "zoo" as they call it.

Amy Wettlaufer
Amy Wettlaufer
Amy Wettlaufer - In her role as Program Manager with All About Animals Rescue, Amy Wettlaufer manages an active Community Cats program, which includes partnerships with the Macomb County Animal Shelter and the City of Warren. Before joining All About Animals Rescue in 2013, Amy managed community outreach, adoption and low-cost spay/neuter programs for the Michigan Animal Rescue League in Pontiac. She has a life-long affection for animals and a commitment to a life of service in animal welfare. Amy happily shares her home with her two elderbulls, Emma and Jake, but also regularly welcomes feline and canine fosters.

Michigan Pet Fund Alliance's 2016 No Kill conference will be held September 15-16 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre Flint - Grand Blanc.

View all sessions here

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Exhibitor information is here.

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Can you help those who are facing financial challenges but would like to attend? Make a tax-deductible donation to the conference scholarship fund today!

More Questions?   Contact or 877-387-7257.

 Fear Free Initiative

Fear Free Certified
A 2016 Getting to the Goal sponsor is Fear Free. Developed by "America's Veterinarian," Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free initiative aims to "take the 'pet' out of 'petrified'". 

Dr. Julie Levy, a conference speaker and co-founder of Million Cat Challenge, writes  "In shelters, cats often have to cope with inadequate housing, the sounds and smells of dogs, unpredictable and frightening procedures, and a parade of strangers taking care of them. How can our animal care and medical staff mitigate the fears of cats and set them up for a happy and relaxed stay that improves their chances for a quick and positive outcome?

"One of the most exciting innovations to come along is the  Fear Free movement. Fear Free started with the desire to "take the pet out of petrified" and to create Fear Free veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. The movement has ignited and now there is talk of developing Fear Free groomers, trainers, boarding facilities,  . . . and yes . . . shelters. Utilization of Fear Free methods and protocols leads to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved, including pets, their owners, and animal care teams".

Dr. Levy  recommends  the online certification course and invites those interested to use her name for a 10% discount.   "Fear Free certification can be achieved by completing a 9-hour online continuing education course. There are no prerequisites. I have completed the course, and although it is designed for veterinary clinics, most of the ideas can be easily translated to animal shelters.  I encourage shelter staff, veterinarians, and managers to sign up for the 9-hour online certification course at .  Use the promotional referral code APREFIND and mention my name to get 10% off the registration fee."

About Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
The single mission of the 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)
The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization as defined by the IRS and is a Guidestar Exchange Gold Participant.
 Contributions are tax deductible. 
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