Conference 2014 Workshop Descriptions

2014 Annual Welfare and Care Conference at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa, Long Branch, NJ

Workshops are listed in alphabetical order (please check back for additional descriptions)

Train to Adopt, Karen Owens: Working Pre-Conference Session (March 13, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm)The Train to Adopt program is designed to create shelters that are committed to the behavioral, emotional, and mental health of the dogs in their care, from time of intake through their journey to their forever home, providing good quality of life and training, and behavioral help to enhance their chances for adoption, lower length of stay, and decrease their chances for return. Additionally, the Train to Adopt program helps shelter dogs gain enough training to stave off boredom and stress behaviors while, at the same time, giving them the skills for a successful adoption. Train to Adopt helps shelter dogs be more successful and behaviorally healthy in the shelter as well as the future home environment.

In this half day working session, you will: (Note you will not work with a dog if you choose an auditing spot)

  • Learn the essential program and training components of Train to Adopt
  • Gain practical knowledge for how to start Train to Adopt successfully in your shelter
  • Work with and train local shelter dogs to gain hands on practical experience while bettering your shelter dog’s chance for adoption.
  • Receive coaching on your timing and technique training dogs so you can take those skills home to benefit dogs from your shelter or rescue

All the World is a Litterbox, Bryan Langlois, DVM - This workshop tackles the problem of inappropriate elimination in cats. It takes the view of the problem from a cats perspective, with focus on the reasons for it, how it can be corrected, and most importantly how to communicate the issue to clients and people potentially surrendering the cat for that issue to shelters.  Often this problem can be corrected fairly easily, but the breakdown in successful treatment occurs in both misunderstanding and lack of proper communication.  Come learn how it is possible to solve this #1 cause of cat relinquishment to shelters.

Animal Protection 101 ACO’s ACI’a and HLEO’s: Who We Are and How We Can Help, John Saccenti, President Career Development Institute, Michael Melchionne, Director NJ Certified Animal Control Officers Association, Rick Yokum, President NJ State SPCA- The purpose of this workshop is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of Animal Control Officers, Animal Cruelty Investigators, and Humane Law Enforcement Offices/Agents as well as police We will discuss their authority, powers, as well as their training requirements. You will learn both how to become one of these officers and how they can assist you in protecting animals in our state.

Brain Work: Shelter Enrichment the Easy Way - We have a burden to promote the health and well-being of all animals in our care.  Promoting species-appropriate behaviors through proper training and enrichment, regardless of animal housing, should be a paramount concern for all of us that work in a shelter environment, as well as privately owned pets.  Developing ideal training and enrichment programs for any species begins with understanding basic behavior patterns and emotional systems of animals.

To help improve animal welfare in our shelters, we need to understand the emotional systems that drive both abnormal and normal behaviors.  Enrichment should be specifically designed to enable the expression of highly motivated behaviors that are driven by emotional circuits in the brain.

Animals who have specific daily environmental enrichment will show better to potential adopters, live a longer, happy life and decrease the chances of illness, fear and aggression.  Pia will give examples of how to make the best choices for all living beings in your care.

Celebrating the Underdog: Beyond the Breed, Kim Wolf, Beyond the Breed, Kim Wolf - In every community, certain pets are more “at risk” than others for entering the shelter system and/or exiting as a live release. This session will teach attendees: (1) how to identify “at risk” pets in their community; (2) how to curb their intake by addressing risk factors; and (3) how to increase their live release rates and decrease their length of stay. In each of these areas, attendees will learn best practices relating to: shelter policies and practices; adoption promotion and marketing; community outreach; advocacy; and media/communications. The audience will hear strategies for providing extra support for “at risk” pets without creating stigma or fueling negative perceptions. The session will incorporate evidence-based research from outside fields including advertising, psychology, veterinary medicine, and political science. It will also include case studies from shelters, rescue groups, and advocacy organizations around the country. This session is designed for paid employees, volunteers, and community advocates at all experience levels

Compassion Fatigue and Burnout: Create Balance in your Life to Help More animals, Linda Harper - Animal welfare workers face unique challenges of the heart. Our national love for animals, unique sensitivity to the suffering, and the strong desire to help ALL of them result in inevtiable and unavoidable struggles that can lead to compassion fatigue and burnout. Learn to identify symptoms of stress, discover balancing strategies that work and uncover the power of joy in giving to animals.

Expanding the Impact: Community TNR, Bryan Kortis, PetSmart Charities- Practicing Trap-Neuter-Return on a community scale can have dramatic impacts on intake and euthanasia and reduce the number of free-roaming cats . We’ll explore setting up a large TNR program and the most effective tactics and tools, including targeted TNR to address high need areas, mobilizing the public to participate hands-on, and fixing and releasing healthy cats from shelters instead of euthanizing them.  Funding opportunities from PetSmart Charities will also be discussed.

Handling Wildlife Calls, Dr. Karen Dashfield, Antler Ridge - There’s a fawn abandoned in shopping center parking lot, a baby squirrel in the fireplace, a bat in the attic….as wildlife increasingly adapts to living in urban and suburban areas, we are faced with increasing calls to assist the public with injured, orphaned, or nuisance wildlife.  In this session we will discuss best practices in handling these public requests for assistance, with a particular focus on screening to determine if the animal actually needs our assistance, safe handling of animals when the need is real, wildlife resources within New Jersey, and regulations that apply to animal control handling of wildlife calls.

Is That Cat Feral?  Tips and Myths about Feral Cat Behavior, Dr. Laurie Garrison, ASPCA - One of the greatest challenges to shelter professionals is dealing with the large numbers of stray cats who come in on a daily basis.  With no known background on those cats, shelter staffs are faced with attempting to tell the difference between cats who are frightened but socialized, from cats who are unsocialized to humans.  This workshop will describe several methods that we have identified that, when used in combination, can indicate if a cat in a shelter is socialized or not.  We will also bust a few myths about cat behavior.

Keep Them Out of the Shelter: Preventing Surrender of Pets, Lanie Anton, ASPCA - We’ve all seen them – frantic and often tearful owners surrendering their pets to your shelter or rescue for a host of reasons. You’re there to help, but you’re full or just can’t handle one more. What to do? This workshop will look at the reasons pets are relinquished and what we can do to keep them in their homes … the best place for them. Or, bring them in without overtaxing your facility.

Make a Difference with Mobile Adoptions, Todd Cramer, PetSmart Charities - If you aren’t currently conducting mobile adoptions or if you feel mobile adoptions are lacking value for your organization, attend this session and learn how mobile adoptions, also known as offsite adoptions, can save lives while benefiting your organization in a variety of ways. This workshop will cover best practices for managing mobile adoptions, working well with retailers and other mobile adoption partners, and taking advantage of mobile adoptions to build your foster, volunteer and donor bases.

Model Programs for Outdoor Cats in Coastal NJ, Pam Ward, Aileen Walden, Alley Cat Allies - Learn how to implement or expand community-wide programs for outdoor cats, using the coastal New Jersey communities of Atlantic City and Seaside Heights, along with other very successful programs, as a framework. Find out how potential or real disasters became opportunities to save even more cats. There will be plenty of time for Q&A so you can connect what you’ve learned from these communities with your work at home.

Mutts on the Mend: Work Together To Get Dogs Adopted! - St. Hubert’s cares about all living beings, not just those living within our own shelters.  We offer free behavioral assessments with our certified counselors to bona-fide 501(c)(3) shelters and rescue groups who post on and who would like assistance or a second opinion regarding the behavior of the dogs in their care.

Behavioral assessments are conducted for you, free of charge, and a copy of the assessment, suggestions for behavior modification, enrichment and training are provided.

Pia will cover  what Mutts on the Mend offers; provide tips on doing a quick, but effective evaluation, as well as share easy-to-follow behavioral protocols that staff can easily follow.

New Jersey State Shelter Regulations, Colin Campbell - The presentation will summarize the State regulations describing the sanitary operation of animal shelters, pounds, pet stores and kennels (animal facilities).  Animal facilities in New Jersey have to be licensed by the municipality in order to operate and licensure requires inspection by the local health department to document compliance with these regulations, as well as all applicable laws and ordinances.

Practical Pet First Aid, Geoff Goyette, Edison Twp. Animal Shelter - The “important things” that you should know to help you to improve your animal’s health and wellness. Focus will be on prevention best practices as well as understanding how to prepare and react during animal “emergencies”. You will also gain a better understanding through my “best friend Belle”, of how she sees her world, reacts to it, and can get herself into trouble. You will learn how to protect your “best friends” and help them when illness or accidents strike.

A Second Chance for Fearful Dogs, Kristen Collins, ASPCA - During this talk, Ms. Collins will introduce the ASPCA’s work at their newly opened Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, located on the grounds of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ. Topics will include problematic behavior commonly seen in fearful, severely undersocialized dogs, the Rehab Center’s treatment program and research, and some of the Center’s early discoveries.

Should I Start a Rescue/Fundraising Group? Geoff Goyette, Edison Twp Animal Shelter, Kathy Healey Friends of Somerset Regional Animal Shelter - This workshop will help you to answer that question as well as to provide you with a practical way to determine how best for you to help animals. You will be given the “helps” needed to succeed as well as the reasons that you might fail (and how to prevent that). You will learn what a rescue group is and what it is not as well as where you might go to get help getting started and how to become self-sustaining.

Stopping Animal Cruelty Before it Starts, Colleen Doherty, ASPCA - The Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program was created to address situations where animals are at risk of becoming cruelty victims unless either they or their owners are provided with much needed services. The program proactively addresses animal hoarding and other situations where pet owners cannot adequately care for their animals due to a lack of financial resources or other circumstances, such as domestic violence, medical or mental health challenges. Intervention strategies and ongoing case management of various cases are highlighted in this workshop.

Sustainable Jersey’s Animals in the Community Program and You - The Animal in the Community Program targets municipalities and classrooms and provides online resources aimed at increasing the health and welfare of wildlife, domestic animals and household pets throughout the state. It will be a key tool for you in your community.

The municipality toolkit serves to foster public awareness of the benefits of dog and cat registration, the importance of humane treatment of animals, increasing compliance with registration and decreasing incidents of animal abuse and neglect.  Also, timely information on animal health, such as announcement of rabies clinic or tips to protect pets from extreme weather will be distributed as necessary.

Educational materials for use in elementary school classrooms consist of a wide variety of free thematic education packs including teaching guides, lessons, worksheets, videos, and interactive activities aligned with core curricula. Resources from IFAW’s recently launch Cats and Dogs Animal Action Education initiative have been modified to address the issues related to NJ and will be available to all schools.

The One Man Band Guide to Fundraising, Erika Mathews, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center - This workshop will provide tips on combining fundraising and marketing techniques that respect a busy shelter person’s time constraints, addressing starting and maintaining a direct mail program, using Free online tools to keep in touch with donors and getting the most out of your wish list, creating virtual events that won’t suck your time or energy, designing simple planned giving programs.

The Power of Together with Petco, Karen Werthwein, Petco - Learn about COllaborating with Petco and the Petco Foundation for adoptions, fundraising, sponsorships, donations and grants.

What to look For in Dog Fighting?, Janette Reever, HSUS - This workshop will cover: What is dogfighting, who participates, and how are the fights conducted, what raining aids, paraphernalia and other conditioning techniques are used, how to investigate animal fighting complaints and plain view, how to collect evidence and what to do with the animals afterwards.

What NJ Laws Provide for the Protection of Animals, William Zaorski, JD, Career Development Institute - This workshop will take a close look at the NJ laws from the 1880’s to the 2013 that protect animals.  Attendees will learn what animals are protected, what the laws prohibit and who enforces these laws. Attendees also will learn that there may be more than just animal cruelty in an animal cruelty case and how animal cruelty may be a predictor or indicator of other crimes and what can we do about it.

When They Hop and Fly!  - Caring for rabbits and exotic birds in the Shelter - Meeting the specialized needs of rabbits and birds presents many challenges to humane societies and animal shelter facilities. This joint presentation will focus on practical recommendations for the housing, feeding, veterinary, biosecurity, behavioral, and placement requirements of birds and rabbits within a shelter setting. Additionally, guidelines for recognizing emergency conditions and signs of illness, proper handling and environmental safety, and establishing working relationships with rabbit and exotic bird specialists will be covered.  Educational materials and Sample Adoption Packets will be provided.

Why can’t we all just get along? - Relationships among shelters and rescue groups are often strained because of differences in philosophies, practices and personalities. Setting aside differences and focusing on shared goals is essential to a successful collaboration. Learn strategies and skills to help you master the art of collaboration from two seasoned animal welfare professionals with broad experience in bringing together diverse groups to focus their resources and energies on shared goals in life saving.


Please click here for the Conference Schedule.

Please click here for speaker biographies.