I have written one review about Safe Haven Animal Shelter as a Donor and volunteer. I am writing this more critical review as a person with some expertise about animal shelters (see note below).
Any No Kill shelter is infinitely better than a pound that resorts to convenience killing, of course. However, as a No Kill shelter, Safe Haven has management problems that make it less effective than the other No Kill shelters in Delaware. Certainly some of these problems at Safe Haven can be attributed to its start-up, with a new building and new staff in 2012. However, the Executive Director and Board of Directors need to focus on these problems and resolve them if Safe Haven is to reach its potential.
MEDICAL CENTER The Executive Director did not hire a full-time veterinarian or equip the Medical Center on a timely basis, despite the fact there were funds earmarked for that from a major donation. This impacts not only the care of the animals in the shelter, but it also means that there is no Trap Neuter Return program, and no high-volume or low cost spay/neuter for the pets in the community yet.
ADOPTION Safe Haven must increase the numbers of animals adopted into good homes. As a No Kill shelter with a dog control contract, Safe Haven must quickly move animals from the shelter into good homes by more effective use of social media, ads in newspapers, and special events and promotions at the building and at off-site locations. One factor impeding the adoption of a number of animals is the Executive Director’s “bonded pair” policy; when two animals who came into the shelter separately get along, the Director sometimes decides they must be adopted together, which makes it much more difficult to get them into homes. Finally, the building is only open to the public a very limited number of hours a week – just on Fridays and Saturdays; people who want to see the animals on other days must make appointments. That definitely hinders adoptions.
FOSTER HOMES Safe Haven needs to work harder to develop a good network of foster homes for animals who should not be in a shelter: young puppies, kittens, and dogs or cats who are sick or elderly.
VOLUNTEERS More volunteers are needed not only to help with the animals in the new building, but also in the private kennels where dogs are being boarded on an overflow basis because there is no room at the sanctuary. Dogs and cats in shelters need attention and love on a daily basis, and volunteers are essential for that. REPORTING Delaware shelters are required by law to report online their statistics on a quarterly basis including data on intake, adoptions, returns to owner, transfers, and euthanasia. Safe Haven has not posted their statistics online.
NOTE: As the blogger for No Kill Delaware, I follow the literature and national news about animal shelters, with a special focus on Delaware shelters. Four of the five shelters in Delaware are committed to the No Kill ethic: Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, Faithful Friends, Delaware Humane, Delaware SPCA. No Kill shelters save 90% and more of the animals.
The Kent County SPCA in Delaware is not committed to No Kill ethic and their save rate is much lower than 90%.
No Kill advocates are working to make Delaware a No Kill state. Delaware has a very progressive Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) based on the model of the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national advocacy group. No Kill shelters are guided by the "No Kill Equation" developed by Nathan Winograd, an important leader in the No Kill movement. The No Kill Equation includes rescue partnerships; foster care; comprehensive adoption program; Trap Neuter Return for community cats; volunteers; community relations; medical/behavior rehabilitation; high-volume, low cost spay/neuter for the community; pet retention programs; and a hard-working compassionate Director. While this is a challenging set of programs, they are critical to the success of a No Kill shelter.
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, a No Kill shelter for dogs and cats, finished their new building in 2012, hired full-time staff and filled the sanctuary with hundreds of dogs and cats. This has been challenging, of course, but as a donor and former Board member, I believe that Safe Haven is a No Kill shelter that is working hard to save the abused and abandoned animals in Delaware. I know the Executive Director to be completely committed to the No Kill ethic, which is critical. The review here on Guidestar by jrzygrl412 fails to convey what was accomplished by Safe Haven in 2011. Without a building, we pulled over 100 dogs from death row at the kill facility in Kent County, Delaware and placed the dogs in foster homes or boarded them at private kennels until they could be adopted. For the full story, please see the 2011 Annual Report, which is posted online at http://www.safehavende.org/images/stories/annual%20report%20for%20web.pdf All of this was accomplished in 2011 with only one full-time employee - the Executive Director. We relied heavily on volunteers, and some did get burned out but most were completely dedicated, and we managed to save the lives of those dogs so they would have a second chance. With a full-time staff, hundreds of dogs and cats are now being being well cared for in Safe Haven's sanctuary. As of July, 2012 Safe Haven is now doing dog control In Kent County according to the new model shown to be so successful in other parts of the country; the objective is to try finding the dog's home if at all possible, rather than automatically taking the dog to the shelter. The dogs who are taken to the sanctuary are safe from being killed. People who want to help a No Kill shelter committed to helping abused and abandoned animals can be confident that their donations will be put to good use at Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary.
Is NOT what you think it is! I was a volunteer but no longer. Dogs are not being cared for, plus this facility is STILL not open, Safe Haven pushes these dogs from kennel to kennel. If different responsible Board members would take over this mess, I would certainly start volunteering again. I socialized and worked and walked these dogs, Took them to adoption events, but there are too many and they just keep bringing them in....
Review from Guidestar