MAC’s Mission Statement:
MAC’s board worked on tightening up our mission statement to better reflect our work:
Providing the Massachusetts animal welfare community with informational resources, opportunities for professional growth, collaboration, and networking to improve the welfare of companion animals in our state.
Fiscal Year July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022
MAC’s History and Goals
The Massachusetts Animal Coalition is a statewide tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization of Massachusetts animal welfare professionals and dedicated volunteers who have come together to effect change for animals in Massachusetts communities. Now in its 21st year, MAC members have created strong alliances and developed new programs and initiatives that are benefitting Massachusetts animals.
Created in February 2000, MAC has worked hard over the years at forming alliances and developing programs in various areas of animal welfare, all with an eye toward improving the lives of our companion animal friends. Since its inception, MAC has provided a forum to network, collaborate, and learn. MAC has acted as a facilitator to foster ideas, develop expertise, and generate support for animal welfare activities – in an effort to provide “animal people” with a way to promote their ideas and receive support as they carry out their programs and projects. While there is certainly much more to work on, MAC has a bright future as we look forward to tackling more and more issues as a united front.
MAC operates as a volunteer-run organization, using consultants occasionally as needed, to organize operations and to fulfill our legal and financial responsibilities. Prior to Covid-19, MAC held at least three education and training meetings per year, which were typically held in-person at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Our more recent meetings have been hosted on Zoom with support from the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy. MAC is grateful to the school for the ongoing support. Information about upcoming and prior events and workshops can be found on the MAC website (www.massanimalcoalition.org).
MAC has four standing Programs: the Animal-Friendly License Plate, AniMatch, Educational Meetings and Spay Mass. MAC also sponsors Task Forces that are working on particular projects. MAC’s approved Task Forces engage in collaborative endeavors to benefit Massachusetts animals. MAC serves as an umbrella and incubator allowing Task Forces to get started on their work without having to form a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, set up a Board of Directors, and address all required government annual filings. If you are a MAC member and are interested in exploring the idea of a MAC Task Force that is in keeping with MAC’s mission, email to inquire about the process at [email protected].
Animal Friendly License Plate Program
This MAC Program promotes and receives funds collected from the sale of the “I’m Animal Friendly” License Plate through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. These license plates have been for sale since 2004. MAC strives to ensure that the sales and renewals of the license plates continue to be strong.
Since 2005 MAC has annually awarded grants to community based spay-neuter programs across the state operated by non-profits, municipalities and coalitions of animal-centered organizations. Two volunteer committees support MAC’s License Plate grant program. The License Plate Program Oversight Committee is comprised of MAC board members. This committee manages the details of the program, posts the applications, processes the grant awards, and monitors spending of the funds. The Grant Awards Committee consists of an animal control officer, a veterinarian, a MAC member, and two members of the shelter and rescue community. For 17 years these three-year term committee members have reviewed grant applications and made recommendations for funding.
In 2019 the MAC License Plate Program Oversight Committee started exploring how to create a greater impact with the monies raised from the sale of license plates. The Committee ultimately decided to take a hiatus from making grants for one year (2020) to focus on reevaluating all parts of the Program.
However, COVID-19 created new challenges. The long waiting lists for spay/neuter services reached crisis levels. Given the current challenges to obtaining veterinary services, MAC elected to award $252,500 in Emergency Spay/Neuter Grant awards to 39 organizations and municipalities in April of 2021. In 2022, another emergency grant was established and 36 organizations were awarded $185,000 in June of 2022. Another grant is scheduled to be awarded in 2023.
Since the program began awarding funds, tens of thousands of cats, dogs and rabbits have been spayed or neutered, with almost $2.8 million awarded to organizations and municipalities throughout the state through MAC’s fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
As part of MAC’s efforts to better understand the need for services across the state, in 2019 MAC engaged a consultant to survey Massachusetts spay/neuter resources and identify gaps in services. Looking to further the analysis, MAC board member Joann Lindenmayer (DMV, MPH) approached Dr. Cameron Carow, who expressed interest in the project. Dr. Carow is a 2021 graduate of the combined DVM-MPH degree program at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine. With Dr. Lindenmayer as an academic mentor, Dr. Carow conducted a GIS-based analysis of the need for spay and neuter clinic support using socio-economic indicators of vulnerability of human populations, with need compared against available spay/neuter services to identify gaps. This analysis will assist the MAC License Plate Program to identify locations in Massachusetts where the need is greatest but where spay-neuter clinics are difficult to access.
Once the COVID-19 challenges have lessened MAC will refocus on crafting a long-term plan.
AniMatch (macanimatch.org and AniMatch, a Project of MAC)
AniMatch began as a MAC task force and has become a permanent MAC program. AniMatch was created in 2007 when there was a growing belief that there was a shortage of adoptable dogs in Massachusetts. Because of this belief, over the previous two decades, some animal welfare organizations had been importing both puppies and adult dogs from out of state for adoption in Massachusetts. While this practice was saving the lives of out-of-state animals, the AniMatch team saw that there were still adoptable dogs in Massachusetts that were languishing in shelters and municipal shelters, simply because of a lack of resources and exposure in their communities. They hypothesized that if Massachusetts dogs were provided with resources similar to those given to imported dogs, they would also have a chance at finding their new family. AniMatch was created as a system to support the intrastate evaluation and transfer of pets, affording these forgotten dogs that opportunity, as reflected in its tagline, “Linking Shelter Resources to Save Local Animals.”
In 2016 AniMatch for Cats was launched as well! Building on our years of experience working with dogs, similar programming was rolled out, which was designed to assist cats in need across the state of Massachusetts, and AniMatch facilitated the official transfer of well over 270 cats and kittens (many more “unofficially”) since the inception of the cat part of the program in early 2016.
AniMatch provides Canine Body Language and Behavior Observation training for participating organizations and volunteers considering becoming part of AniMatch. The goal is to enable participating organizations and volunteers to use the same standardized, objective criteria when posting available dogs on AniMatch’s database. When working with cats, AniMatch utilizes a succinct behavior observation (“Feline Personality”) form that provides a snapshot of a cat’s behaviors. These processes allow organizations to make realistic decisions regarding their ability to help a particular dog or cat.
To date, AniMatch’s training team has “graduated” 182 Behavior Observers, allowing teams of two people to go out into the field to help ACOs and others. A total of 675 people have participated in the training and have taken what they’ve learned back to their facilities to share with their co-workers. Because of COVID-19 we have not been able to offer in-person training since March 2020 so we offered one online training from 2020 and one in 2022. Over the course of this lifesaving program AniMatch has performed hundreds of behavior observations at the request of shelters, rescues and ACO facilities. There are currently 200 organizations that participate in the AniMatch Program.
AniMatch has been instrumental in establishing and encouraging collaborative partnerships between Massachusetts animal welfare groups and the team has learned so much about what ACOs face on a daily basis. These partnerships have developed and grown over time and have created a safety net, giving hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats in Massachusetts a second chance. AniMatch’s work is based on teamwork, trust building, commitment and networking. The team is humbled and proud to have served over 3,174 dogs since November 2007.
AniMatch facilitates happy endings for Massachusetts animals!
Education and Training Sessions (“MAC Meetings”)
Held at least three times a year, MAC meetings have featured invited speakers addressing various topics of interest and importance to the Massachusetts animal welfare community. MAC meetings promote vigorous discussion and positive interactions among the attendees. During the past year Covid-19 forced us to offer meetings via Zoom and we plan to continue using this medium. At all MAC meetings we introduce topics that are useful to many animal welfare groups by inviting leaders in the field to be guest speakers or participate on a panel. On occasion we hold additional sessions as the need arises.
MAC Task Forces
Effective Shelter and Rescue Operations Task Force
The level of shelter medicine education among Massachusetts shelter and rescue workers varies widely and “ESRO” was created with a goal of providing comprehensive training in animal health, basic medical protocols and husbandry to animal shelter/rescue staff and volunteers, bringing all personnel to the same high level of key knowledge by employing already established guidelines and protocols. By having a foundational training program to address the issues of animal health, both animal shelter/rescue personnel and the animals benefit.
COVID-19 forced us to change our model for delivering this information. The curriculum has been completed and the final version will be videotaped in a webinar format. After many obstacles, we are hoping for completion by the end of 2022 or early 2023. Becker College was part of the planning process and used some of the ESRO content for a 15-week class in January 2020 for the first time. One of the central tenets of MAC’s mission is to promote collaboration as well as to provide educational opportunities. Another part of the mission is to play a leadership role in animal welfare in Massachusetts. This Task Force embodies this spirit.
Shelter Statistics Task Force
The Shelter Statistics Task Force remains inactive pending the development of a strategic plan that will consider next steps that will build on prior Task Force work, namely the publication of the following peer-reviewed publication:
Vinic, T., Dowling-Guyer, S., Lindenmayer, J., Lindsay, A., Panofsky, R., & McCobb, E. (2020). Survey of Massachusetts Animal Shelter Record-Keeping Practices in 2015. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 23(4), 385-401. This paper identified several issues in both public and private shelters and rescues in Massachusetts that are worth consideration, including:
- the absence of standardized shelter data definitions among organizations; a variety of shelter software packages in use, or none at all; and the widespread lack of capacity for analyzing data and reporting it to Boards of Directors and donors, or for grant funding applications. This is attributable to limited use of computers or tablets for data entry and limited capacity and technical expertise for data entry, analysis and reporting.
Taken together, these constitute a major barrier to improving our understanding of the shelter animal population in Massachusetts.
To keep MAC members and friends informed about animal issues in Massachusetts, MAC has continued to improve its website and Facebook presence and offers e-alerts and e-newsletters about MAC’s work. Conover Tuttle Pace, a Boston-based advertising firm, helped to improve our outreach and license plate sales. There are a wide variety of useful informational resources for both the public and MAC members on the website. See www.massanimalcoaliton.org.
Please note that the below discusses how MAC membership currently works. The board is in the process of re-evaluating MAC membership specifics in order to better meet the needs of our members.
MAC encourages both organizational and individual memberships. Individual MAC members receive discounted meeting fees and priority meeting registrations. Organizational MAC members receive free meeting passes, the number of which is dependent on an organization’s membership level, and priority meeting registration when using free meeting passes. MAC also offers meeting discounts to students.
See the website for specific information about the different kinds of memberships and the benefits that go along with MAC membership. If you have any questions about memberships, please email the MAC membership committee at [email protected].
MAC Strategic Planning
In 2022 the MAC board has worked with Humane Network on developing strategic planning goals and implementation planning. The focus is to streamline MAC activities and commit to goals for the short and long term. This is an ongoing process.
Financials – Enclosed you will find a copy of MAC Financial information covering the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year and the prior 4 years.
Thank you for your continuing support and participation in the mission of MAC.
Submitted October 1, 2022 by the MAC Board of Directors