Press Release: Animal Services Joins National Pilot Aimed at Keeping Pets Home

El Paso Animal Services has been selected as one of only 12 animal shelters to join the nationwide launch of the Human and Animal Support Services (HASS) pilot, a new animal welfare organizational model that recognizes pets and people as family-units and aims to keep them together.

HASS launched as a nationwide coalition with organizations aimed at creating programs and initiatives based on guiding principles that keep pets and their people together, and more shelter pets in the care of fosters. This will allow the shelters to serve as resource centers and pet-owner support systems in their communities.

The goal of El Paso Animal Services and HASS is to build better safety-net programs for pets to help keep them with their families whenever possible. The organizational model promotes community collaboration in an effort to reimagine traditional animal sheltering.

“We know we can do so much better when it comes to getting stray pets home, keeping cats and dogs with their owners, and getting sheltered pets to foster and adoptive homes faster,” says Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of American Pets Alive! and one of the project’s leaders. “This pilot will give us the time and resources to finally put animal social services at the center of our work to help pets.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, communities across the country were called-on to foster and adopt animals to get them out of shelters. Here in El Paso, residents responded enthusiastically, helping clear many of the shelter’s kennels, giving Animal Services the opportunity to collaborate with the community like never before.

“Through this pandemic, El Paso has shown us that our community truly cares for its pets and is willing to be part of our lifesaving mission,” said Paula Powell Director of El Paso Animal Services. “The community embraced our operational changes that focused on helping those animals most in need, while residents assisted with helping friendly strays find their way back home. El Paso as a community deserves all the credit for showing Animal Services that a change was needed in how we view animal sheltering in our city and across the country.”

Thanks to support from Maddie’s Fund®, South Fork Foundation, and Michelson Found Animals Foundation, this model will help pilot shelters test new resources and programs. In the coming months, El Paso Animal Services will launch new community support services to strengthen the region’s ability to keep pets with their families.

This collaborative project is led by the leadership of American Pets Alive!, Humane Rescue Alliance, and Michelson Found Animals. The following progressive, lifesaving organizations were selected by the executive leadership team and lead supporters of the movement based on their track records of successfully implementing positive changes for pets in their shelters and communities:

·         El Paso Animal Services (TX)

·         Kansas City Pet Project (MO)

·         Humane Rescue Alliance (DC & NJ)

·         Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control (NC)

·         Pima Animal Care Center (AZ)

·         Oakland Animal Services (CA)

·         Fresno Humane Animal Services (CA)

·         San Diego Humane Society (CA)

·         LifeLine Animal Project (GA)

·         Cabot Animal Services (AR)

·         Greenville County Animal Care (SC)

·         Los Angeles Animal Services (CA)

About Human Animal Support Services (HASS):

Human Animal Support Services is a national coalition of animal shelter leaders and 12 pilot organizations transforming the sheltering system through innovative programs and services. The initiatives of HASS focus on keeping pets and their people together, placing pets out of the shelter and in foster homes and creating collaborative programs and partnerships that serve as community-wide resources. HASS is a community collaboration led by American Pets Alive! and powered by incredible partners. For more information, go to

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