By: Karel Minor, Chief Executive Officer/President of Humane Pennsylvania
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Humane Pennsylvania has been breaking all the rules. And we intend to continue to do so.
I don’t mean breaking rules like the dummies at the bars and pool parties. We were following the quarantine rules before they were even officially “the rules” because disease prevention is kind of our thing. Plus, we don’t want to kill anyone’s granny. I mean the rules for what is possible for an animal welfare organization, whether it’s in a pandemic or not.
We kept our hospitals open and serving the community. We kept adopting animals out and we’ve been taking them in. We kept all our staff working. We expanded our services and coordinated over 120,000 pounds of pet food distribution in the past two months. All safely, all within the Governor’s orders and health protocols.
If we had played by the standard rules as they applied to so many other organizations, we’d have cut staff, cut services, and helped fewer animals and people. Instead we reached out to more people and we changed how we operated so we could operate safely. Screw the rules, we have pets and people to help.
It has not been without cost. We had several staff down and out from confirmed or likely COVID-19. We are front-line workers. Our work continued but our revenue has not. Our biggest spring fundraiser, the Art for Arf’s Sake Auction which raises $100,000 each year had to be postponed until November. Our operating revenue has declined up to 80%. We have been aided by the generosity of our donors (thank you!) but it’s not enough to offset long term losses if things continue on much longer. We were fortunate to be in a position to take advantage of the Federal emergency funding, but that’s only an eight week salvation.
How will we continue on? By breaking the rules some more, of course! And this time we need you to help. We will be making a change to one of our major fundraisers this year- I can’t say what or how yet because our Director of Events, Lauren Henderson, will kill me if I spill the beans- which you’ll hear more about soon. The capital campaign to raise the last half of the funds needed for our new Reading Animal Shelter and Community Hospital, came to a screeching halt, but is going to take an approach that is definitely breaking the rules. And believe me, the words “ninety-two cents a day” will be coming your way soon. They will haunt you in your sleep. Ninety-two cents a day….
We are breaking new ground in tele-vet medicine. We are finding new ways to deliver critical vaccines and services to larger numbers of people. We will be finding creative ways around the vague prohibitions against so-called “elective” treatments. We call them life-saving. We are pioneering video adoption screening and counseling and direct adoption delivery. Corona has killed enough people, we aren’t going to allow it to result in needless animal death, too.
Humane Pennsylvania has always been of the mindset that barriers are merely challenges. Rules can be changed. We’ve lived that belief and it’s why we succeed when times are great, and we succeed when times aren’t so great. We don’t know how things will work out but as an organization we have always prepared for the worst while we were planning for the best.
We are going to come out of this smarter, stronger, and surer of ourselves. We hope you are going to be sticking by us (“ninety-two cents a day”…). I hope you are able to keep optimistic, too, because we are going to be here standing by for you, whether you and your pets need it or just to work on your behalf for those who do need our help right now.
Thanks for being there for us so we can keep being there for them.
Oh, what the heck, I’ll break one more rule and just flat out ask you to make a donation right here at the end. Go ahead, live dangerously. Give like you’re at an Ozarks pool party. YOLO!