Do’s and Don’ts for Convening a Pet-Friendly Coalition in Your City

Every community has people who love pets. Most cities have shelters and rescues, pet-focused businesses, as well as government initiatives and animal control.

In pet-friendly cities, partnership among all these groups is key, uniting cities, public and private animal welfare organizations, like-minded businesses and the community at large. Together, these partners can drive the most progress to end pet homelessness and ensure a pet-friendly community for pets and pet parents.

By building a coalition of pet advocates in your city, you can identify gaps and areas of overlap for the greatest impact with the resources available.

Here’s how to get started.

Pet-Friendly Coalition Do’s

  • Invite to the table all animal welfare organizations and pet advocates in your community, so all voices are heard.
  • Be sure to include people with the different skills, talents and resources the coalition will need to achieve its goals.
  • Choose a convening entity to lead the process. An independent convener with animal welfare expertise can help guide the parties to an agreed-to mission, objectives and way forward.
  • Get input from members of the community through local events, meetings or surveys to understand local opinions, needs and concerns.
  • Conduct your own assessment, as a coalition, to get a current, big picture view of your community’s needs.
  • Have a facilitator at meetings who can help make sure no single agenda drives the discussion.
  • Using what you learn, formalize an action plan with signature initiatives and ongoing processes to staying aligned. Be clear about roles and responsibilities.
  • Set specific measures to determine progress, along with regular milestones to re-convene and stay on track.

Pet-Friendly Coalition Don’ts

  • Don’t limit the coalition only to animal welfare experts. Involve local leaders who can help, such as government, business leaders and other key influencers.
  • Don’t assume everyone will have the same agenda. Plan time for all to share their priorities. An inclusive process goes a long way toward acceptance of the final plan.
  • Don’t assume everyone understands all the issues. Have experts in different subject matters share details about their area of expertise.
  • Don’t forget to plan for sufficient funding. Identify your ideal strategy and tactics, then determine where funds will come from and how much will be needed.
  • Don’t forget communication planning. Make sure you have a plan for explaining coalition actions to the community and the media, including shared talking points about the coalition’s purpose and results.

Want more ways to help pets in your community? Check out our Helping Homeless Pets Toolkit for resources for cities, tools for shelters and tips for pet lovers.

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