So the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) is an “Open Admissions” shelter, but what does that mean?
As an Open Admissions shelter, HSSM takes in every homeless pet brought to us for care. We do NOT turn any animal away based on old age, health issues, behavioral problems, or tendencies toward aggression, which make an animal harder to adopt.
Taking in every animal in need seems like a noble way to operate, right? We believe so. In our community, there is no other shelter for stray and abandoned animals, so we are serving a much-needed purpose and if we chose to be “Limited Admissions, ” in which we only took in highly adoptable pets, then there would be nowhere for the others to go.
In South Mississippi, though, being an Open Admissions shelter has its challenges. Only when the number of homes available for our furry friends matches the number of pets looking for them will we truly have accomplished our goal of ending pet overpopulation. Based on the human population of our area, HSSM should be seeing approximately 7,500-8,000 homeless pets each year, however, our reality is that we serve nearly 11,000 and just three years ago we served as many as 15,000!
Limited Admissions shelters that pick and choose the pets they admit may sometimes refer to themselves as “no-kill” shelters, because they are not taking in the animals that are being euthanized in their community. However, in every community there are a number of pets (approx. 25% of the pet population in any community) that will NOT be candidates for re-homing due to major medical issues or aggression. So those “no-kill” shelters are simply shifting the euthanasia of animals in their community to another entity.
HSSM is committed to ending pet overpopulation and the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in our community by 2015. However, this initiative, entitled Countdown to Zero, can only be accomplished when our entire community commits to become truly humane.
The formula for the success of Countdown to Zero and eliminating the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in our community is simple:
Decreased Intake + Increased Positive Outcomes = More Pets Saved!