In just six months, the grassroots organization has resulted in the building of a Facebook following of nearly 5,000 individuals, a 24-hour telephone hotline for potential adopters, a six-day-a week pound photography team that uploads pictures of animals awaiting adoption to social media sites every day, a website that explains the No Kill mission and the mission of Cleveland for a No Kill City, and the beginnings of a database to track animals coming into and leaving Cleveland Animal Control.
The database will eventually allow for tracking of specific areas of the county from which the most dogs and cats are surrendered/stray, specific information about types of animals surrendered/stray, and other, more detailed analysis.
This data will then allow for targeted work in spay/neuter, owner retention and other areas to reduce intake rates.
Cleveland for a No Kill City has helped changed the kill rate at Cleveland Animal Control from more than 75 percent at this time in 2011, to just 6 percent for November 2012. The conversation has resulted in the city of Cleveland officially declaring its goal of becoming a No Kill City.
A sign was placed on the animal control gate in late November stating the city is striving to become no kill.
On Dec. 10, Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel informed City Council that former Cleveland for a No Kill City member Lindsey Smith had been appointed to the position of Cleveland/Bradley County, Tennessee Animal Control liaison for Domestic Animal Rescue and Advocacy with a stated mission "to assist the city of Cleveland, Tenn., governing bodies, its citizens, and all invested rescue groups in researching, developing, and implementing a plan by which Cleveland, will be certified No Kill by providing a communicative point of contact and liaison for all animal rescue organizations, all available resources and Cleveland Animal Control staff."
The duties of Smith's new job include assisting in the implementation of the 11 steps in the No-Kill Equation as outlined in Nathan Winograd's 2007 book "Redemption," facilitating the adoption fund that is comprised of money raised by Cleveland for a No Kill City for the sponsorship of animals at Cleveland Animal Control, and speaking to the press on behalf of the city on issues regarding the No Kill movement.
In her new position, Smith reports to the city manager, City Council, shelter advisory board and the animal control director.
To be considered No Kill, a shelter must save 90 percent or more of animals coming into its facility. Through the work of Cleveland for a No Kill City, this save rate has been maintained for the last few months. With the city appointing a position to ensure this success is maintained, Cleveland for a No Kill City is announcing a more limited scope to its work.
The organization will continue to send its pound photography teams into animal control six days a week to photograph new arrivals and share their photos through social media. The grassroots organization will continue to maintain its Facebook page and website, and continue development of its database.
In addition, the 24-hour adoption hotline will continue to be operated by organization volunteers.
Volunteers are being sought to help with answering calls on the hotline, and anyone interested in participating in an upcoming training session should call 464-6070.
In line with the duties assigned to the city-appointed liaison, contacts from rescue organizations wishing to save animals from Cleveland Animal Control will be forwarded to Smith.
Cleveland for a No Kill City volunteers will no longer be facilitating adoptions at animal control because this duty now falls to the liaison. Volunteers will include information on its nightly "save list" about adopters who have called the hotline and need assistance in completing the process at animal control, and Smith with facilitate the adoption process from that point forward.
At its first meeting May 2, Cleveland for a No Kill City organizers set as their goal: "To become a No Kill City by 2017 by reaching and maintaining a save rate above 90 percent."
On Monday evening, through its consensus process, Cleveland for a No Kill City members declared that mission accomplished — four years ahead of schedule.
In addition to continuing to maintain the infrastructure that has allowed for adoption and rescue of the majority of dogs and cats at animal control, Cleveland for a No Kill City has set two new goals for itself for the coming months:
1. To work toward a "No Kill" ordinance. Although the city has formally committed to the goal of No Kill through signage and the creation of the liaison position, Cleveland for a No Kill City doesn't feel like that commitment is solid until it is part of the city's code.
2. To be a watchdog of the No Kill success achieved at Cleveland Animal Control in 2013 and ensure that the success from 2012 is maintained and continues now that the efforts have been placed under the responsibility of an appointed city official.
Cleveland for a No Kill City will monitor daily intake of animals and report their outcomes to the public. The group will monitor monthly shelter statistics and report the saved rates and kill rates to the public. And, it will request a monthly progress report from the liaison detailing progress toward the development of the plan for implementing the 11 steps in the No Kill equation, and the progress toward the implementation of that plan. These monthly progress report requests will also be shared with the public.