Over 1500 animal lovers (and a handful of extremely tired dogs) gathered at The Rio this past weekend for Best Friends’ annual No More Homeless Pets conference. Rescue groups, shelter staff and animal advocates from all across the United States and around the world convened to improve animal welfare and ensure that spay and neuter rates go up again in 2013 and euthanasia rates go down.
Conference goers had the option of attending over 35 workshops on a variety of tracks. These tracks included: Journey to No-Kill Communities: Case Studies, Marketing Matters: Tools and Tips for Saving More Lives, Empty Cages: Keeping Pets out of Shelters, Adoption and Fostering: Finding Good Homes for Pets, Making Money: Funding Your Animal Rescue Work, Animal Care and Behavior: Understanding and Caring for Homeless Pets, and Innovation: New Solutions to Old Problems.
The usual Best Friend’s rock stars were in attendance and were joined by Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal planet’s My Cat from Hell . Jackson taught guests how to use cat mojo to resolve out of control cat behavior. Other dynamic speakers included Rich Avanzino, president of Maddie’s Fund and father of the No-Kill movement, Rick DuCharme, founder and director of First Coast No More Homeless Pets who has helped decrease shelter admissions in Jacksonville, Florida by more than 35% and shelter deaths by nearly 70% using targeted sterilization programs, Tim Crum, Founder and CEO of Animal Shelter Fundraising who has raised over $150 million dollars for more than 50 animal welfare groups in the U.S, and many others.
Sunday, guests had the opportunity attend optional sessions on ending breed discrimination, the problem of puppy mills, grass roots advocacy for community cats, helping rescues overcome behavioral challenges or to watch a training demonstration by animal behaviorists Aimee Sadler and Mike Kaviani and eager-to-learn Pit Bulls from Las Vegas rescue group Little Friends .
To continue the festivities, some guests boarded a bus for Kanab Sunday afternoon. These lucky people will be visiting the sanctuary in Utah and have the opportunity to see the beauty of Angel Canyon first hand. Visitors will meet some of the 1700 happy animals living at the sanctuary and interact with the caring staff who keep those animals happy and safe.
If you’d like to attend next year’s conference, pack your bags. No More Homeless Pets will be held in Jacksonville, Florida in 2013. Learn more about protecting animals in your community and brainstorm with some of the most brilliant minds in animal welfare.