Recently city animal shelters have engaged social media to save their shelter’s animals lives. While small suburban and county shelters, with little foot traffic, rely on volunteers for their social media outreach. At the Garland Animal Shelter, volunteers have stepped up to do just that.
For one small shelter, Garland, live animal release rates increase as do social media followers. Founded in April 2014, the Shelter Animals of Garland Facebook page started with two part-time volunteers and zero followers. With a passionate determination, today the Facebook page has 10 volunteers and more than 26,000 Facebook friends.
Volunteering Via Social Media
Working odd hours – early a.m., and very late night hours, the Facebook page team loads photos and bios of all of the Garland Animal Shelter’s animals. The photos are then shared on Facebook with their off hold dates in hopes of being tagged by a rescue group or adopted before the shelter’s vet evaluation. When the Facebook page started, animals could be (and at times are) immediately euthanized without an opportunity for rescue to be found. Previously, Garland shelter’s live release rate was less than 50%.
As new volunteers joined, social media expanded with additional social media followers. As a result, the live release rate of the shelter animals has risen to 80+% With social media, shelter animals are exposed to thousands of people that help animals find a second chance. The Shelter Animals of Garland Facebook followers grew exponentially, the page founder decided to expand beyond the Garland Shelter. Now the Facebook page supports the Mesquite Animal Shelter, and Friends of Rowlett Animals.
Beyond the Laptop
Many volunteers don’t just sit behind the laptop. A few volunteers head out weekly to the shelter to take photos, evaluate behaviors, and offer transport assistance. Every week one of the page’s volunteers Patty takes countless photos and videos of animals in need. She also assists rescues by transporting pets, and recently helped more than 20 animals in one day!
No Experience Needed
With thousands of followers and a Shelter Page volunteer team, additional volunteers are still needed! Shelters are overflowing with animals and spring is nearly here. Shelters fill up during the spring, with many litters surrendered to the shelter. Also, owners drop their pets off rather than boarding them for Spring Break, and wandering pets abound during the warming temps. Volunteers are needed to take photos, offer transportation assistance and network on social media sites. Shelter staffs are stretched thin and don’t have the time or resources for utilizing social media for their shelter’s animals.
How to Volunteer
Contact the Shelter Animals of Garland, Mesquite and Rowlett Facebook page to volunteer and follow on Twitter @ShelterAnimals1 and Instagram, NtxShelterAnimals. Volunteers are also needed at the Garland Pet Adoption Center, no experience needed, only that volunteers share one common passion – love of animals. The pet adoption center’s focus is to help the City of Garland Shelter save shelter animals lives – by placing pets in forever homes and promote the spay and neutering of pets.