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We’ve received a lot of questions about our operations since the pandemic has changed life and business for everyone. In the spirit of transparency and full-disclosure, we compiled a list of the most common questions we have received and provide answers to those questions below:

To create and support meaningful connections by enhancing the lives of dogs, cats, and the people in our community who love them.

At BTAA we believe sheltering pets should be the last resort. Our goal is to reduce the need for pets to be sheltered by offering proactive programs that support the connection between people and their pets including:

Pets for Life (PFL): PFL is a grassroots approach to meeting our communities needs. A dedicated team member works within specific neighborhoods knocking on doors offering access to free services to community members and their pets. These services include spay and neuter surgeries, vaccines, pet food, supplies, and minor medical. Currently our program is working with 800+ clients and our focus area is in Sagle.  

Helpline: Members of the community can call our helpline to ask questions, discuss medical and training needs, or to request assistance with their pets. This program is expected to field 2400 inquiries this year.

Home To Home™ (HH): HH is an online pet rehoming program supported by BTAA. This program was created by PAS/BTAA to provide our community with an alternative to surrendering to the shelter. Due to Covid-19, PAS has limited the number of animals in our facility and has been asking people to utilize this program (in non-emergency situations only) before surrendering to the shelter. As of November 11, 2020, HH has helped with 450 adoptions this year.

Pet food bank: Our pet food bank provides free dog and cat food to pets in need. On average our food bank provides 7 tons of dog and cat food to community members each year.

Voucher program for spay/neuter: BTAA assists people with getting their pets spayed and neutered by providing low cost spay and neuter vouchers to community members to use at local vet clinics. Over 480 subsidized vouchers have been provided to our community this year.

Temporary Loving Care (TLC):  Our TLC program provides temporary boarding for pets of domestic violence victims and for individuals who have to be admitted into the hospital for care and have no friends of family to watch their pet. During the Covid-19 pandemic, PAS has also assisted people who are experiencing homelessness and are in need of temporary assistance with housing their pets.

Each year BTAA serves over 8,000 animals. This number includes animals that stay at our animal care center as well as thousands of community pets that we serve via free or low-cost services designed to help keep people and their pets together. 

No, we do not plan on removing the sheltering aspect of our work. Our goal is to work with our community to help people keep their pets and bridge their access to the resources they need to care for their pet. This will reduce the number of animals needing to be sheltered. We plan to continue to meet the needs of community members who require assistance with their pets medical needs, but we do not foresee this being a primary function of our organization. 

PAS-BTAA hires an outside auditing firm to audit our financials. Our 990s can be found here:

No, not currently.  In 2016, we were awarded a grant from PetSmart Charities to perform TNR and between 2017 and 2019, we altered over 2,500 cats with the funds. These surgeries are now paid for through our general operating budget. To help offset the costs of these surgeries, we ask the public to make a $30 donation per cat they bring in to be altered.

BTAA will always take in sick, injured, adoption returns or owner surrendered animals where housing or owner health is a factor. In accordance with best practices, we ask people who find kittens (especially those who are still nursing) to take them back to where they were found as long as they are of a healthy weight and look cared for. The same goes for healthy looking adult cats as they are most likely an owned cat. Most “stray” cats are normally found close to home and are 12 times more likely to find their way home without shelter intervention. Our shelter is in line with the national average that only 3% of owners come to the shelter to reclaim their cats. You can find more information about this approach here or below.

These practices are well supported by animal welfare organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of the United States, The Million Cat Challenge, the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program, and others. You can learn more about these practices below:

For cats who are a part of a community cat population, we  work with the community to spay and neuter them via our Trap-Neuter-Return program. 

Yes, BTAA has paid staff. While volunteers contribute to the overall success of the animal care center in significant ways, our operations depend on veterinary technicians, a full-time veterinarian, and support staff to provide a high standard of care for the animals in our care. We also have staff responsible for our programs, operating our thrift store, communications, development, and managing front-end operations. These staff are vital to our growth and success as an organization, and as with any organization, recruitment and retention of trained and experienced staffing is a large portion of our annual budget.

We compete with the private sector for qualified staff. We want great, knowledgeable, experienced team members and we need to recruit and retain them, which means that we need to pay competitive salaries. Salaries are researched based on expectations, qualifications, experience, and education.

If you would like a deeper dive into our financials, you can review our 990, an annual tax form we submit to the IRS, which is available to the public.

BTAA makes all reasonable attempts to reunite lost pets with their owners. In fact, our return to owner rate for stray dogs is 85% compared with a 15% national average. 

When a dog is brought to the shelter as a stray, we scan it for a microchip. If it is microchipped or has a collar with identification, we’ll attempt to get in contact with the owner. We also post the dog on our Facebook page. 

In the state of Idaho, shelters are required to hold a stray dog for three days. BTAA holds all stray dogs for five days in hopes of reuniting the dog with its owner. If after five days the dog is not claimed and the pet is a candidate for adoption, it becomes available for adoption.

We offer a voucher program on a sliding fee scale that allows people to get a voucher from BTAA to use at a participating veterinarian. Call the shelter and we help by providing a voucher for you to use at a participating clinic.

BTAA does not manage the Ponderay Pet Safe Dog Park. This park is operated by the City of Ponderay. Concerns of suspicious behavior should be reported to the City of Ponderay or the Ponderay Police Department.


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