Announcement: Working Group Meetings begin August 2023
GCAWA was founded on the belief that there is strength in numbers and efficiency in working together. We must set aside egos and differences to find common ground and support one another as we work to improve the lives of pets and people in our region.
Because the actions of each organization impact the image of everyone in our industry, we ask that members help to elevate animal welfare by:
- Meeting or exceeding industry standards for pet care
- Operating with integrity
- Resolving conflicts directly and offline rather than in public forums, such as social media
In doing this, we will demonstrate our industry’s professionalism and commitment to pets and people.
Here’s how you can help:
- Sign on your animal welfare-related organization or business as a GCAWA Industry Partner to show your support for the strategic and collaborative work being done to address the root causes of our animal welfare crisis
- Share data that will be combined with information from other participating organizations to help paint a true picture of our impact and needs
- Encourage others in your circle to become Friends of GCAWA
- Join one of the four working groups to help guide our success
- Engage in special projects as opportunities arise
In return, you will:
- Receive data and information that you can use to bolster support for your organization’s efforts
- Be listed as a GCAWA Industry Partner on materials shared with community leaders
- More easily connect with like-minded industry leaders
Why Join GCAWA?
The Gulf Coast Animal Welfare Alliance is working to create communities where every pet is safe and free from suffering. It’s a tall order, and we need everyone’s help.
Given that pets play an important role in the lives of people (employees, congrigants, members, etc.) and impact access to to many services (deliveries, utilities, parks, public transportation, schools, construction, etc.), a variety of perspectives will help us plan holistic responses to help people and pets. No matter what you do or where you come from, you can help.
Our Industry Partners
Although we need partners and support from a variety of sectors and community members in order to achieve our vision, members of the animal welfare industry will play a leading role as subject matter experts. Here are a few examples of our Animal Welfare Partners:
- Animal Shelters
- Wildlife Rescues
- Animal Welfare Advocates
Most people consider their pets part of the family, yet animal welfare and human service organizations rarely work together to help both ends of the leash.
Keeping pets and people together helps families and our communities. Many studies have shown that pet ownership offers potential health benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved immune system, increased activity levels, fewer feelings of loneliness, reduced stress, improved coping skills, improved communication skills in children with developmental disorders, allergy prevention in children, and improved symptoms for seniors with dementia.
According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, this results in better overall health and fewer doctor visits, saving $22.7 BILLION in health care costs per year! That’s a lot of reasons for us to partner.
The most common reason people surrender their pets at shelters is because of housing concerns.
Finding pet-friendly housing without breed and size restrictions or unaffordable pet deposits and monthly rent is challenging for many. Yet, data shows pet owners often stay for longer terms, ultimately reducing the price of turning over an apartment or home. When animal welfare organizations and housing industry leaders work together to find compromises, our residents and communities will benefit.
Similarly, pet owners facing homelessness have very few options that allow them to stay with pets. Some choose to stay in their cars or on the streets rather than surrender. Many innovative solutions are available to support the human-animal bond while providing needed programs.
We must reframe the animal welfare issue and invest in creating more humane communities.
The animal welfare industry was created solely to prevent the spread of rabies, often by rounding up and killing pets. Thankfully, our society has evolved, but the commitment to providing adequate pet resources often has not.
One Health teaches us that the health of people, animals, and our environment is interconnected. Public health, public safety, and quality of life are impacted when we do not fund and prioritize animal welfare services.
In our region, people and pets suffer because needs are unmet. Citizens are counting on us to address this issue with compassion.