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The Sister Shelter Project

  • Photo by Monmouth SPCA

  • Photo by Monmouth SPCA

  • Photo by Kim Alboum/The HSUS

  • Photo by Cat Lynch/The HSUS

  • Photo by Cat Lynch/The HSUS

  • Photo by Tara Loller/The HSUS

  • Photo by Tara Loller/The HSUS

  • Photo by Kimberlee Dinn/The HSUS

The Sister Shelter Project was developed to provide support and mentorship for over whelmed animal shelters in Puerto Rico. The staff and volunteers in Puerto Rico’s animal shelters and sanctuaries are overwhelmed with homeless pets. During our Humane State Compassion Fatigue workshops, it became very clear that these caring and compassionate people needed help. They have no one to turn to on the island for guidance and advice on animal sheltering.

This is where The HSUS Emergency Placement Partner (EPP) program comes in! With more than 300 participating shelters and rescues nationwide, the EPP network was the perfect place to seek out “sister shelters” to provide support for all of the shelters in Puerto Rico.

Here are just a few of the things the sister shelter project has provided.  The Humane State team will continue to broaden the list by working with our EPPs on their strengths and programs that could benefit the shelters of Puerto Rico.

  1. Phone mentorship and support for staff
  2. Sharing of best practices and policies
  3. Community supply drives for “adopted” shelters
  4. In-person visits (Staff from Puerto Rico to visit the EPP facility, or EPP staff to visit the Puerto Rico facility) for hands-on problem solving and skill sharing, including:
  • Identifing capital needs and/or repairs
  • Coordinating volunteers from the community and the US
  • Interacting with staff specializing in different areas of animal welfare
  • Providing a third-party objective analysis on daily operations
  1. Potential to transfer animals from Puerto Rico to EPPs (variable per shelter)

The Sister Shelter Project is on the move!

Many incredible HSUS EPPs want to become involved in the Sister Shelter Project after seeing the results in Puerto Rico. The HSUS Humane State Team has partnered with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey to explore taking the Humane State Sister Shelter Project stateside  to save the lives of animals from rural communities while giving back to staff and people that care for them.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center had developed their own Sister Shelter Way Station model where animals are transported from overwhelmed source shelters to destination shelters with capacity. The program goes beyond placement; St. Hubert’s and their destination shelter partners also lend a hands by giving back to the source shelters in other ways, including funding for low-cost public spay/neuter, scholarships to conferences, onsite training and other meaningful resources. This groundbreaking transfer program goes far beyond transport of animals to finding ways in which animal shelters can support each other from many miles away.

The HSUS Humane State program is working within the EPP network to create partnerships among animal shelters by utilizing the St. Hubert’s concepts and developing a protocol for national transports and transfers that will not leave the staff and communities of the source shelters behind.

Stay tuned to watch the exciting expansion of the Sister Shelter Project and to see the results of the collaboration between The HSUS Humane State and St. Hubert’s teams!

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