Rescuing the Rescuers
As anyone involved with animal transport knows, the process of locating and coordinating volunteer transporters can be confusing, disorganized and convoluted. Once you’ve finally managed to find willing transporters, trying to manage different legs of a long-distance trip can be a full-time task in itself, especially when routes change along the way.
One organization with a proven track record of using technology in unique ways to improve the lives of animals is working to rescue the rescuers. Pet-Abuse.Com has been featured in People Magazine, The Society & Animals Forum, and numerous TV and radio shows for their innovative animal cruelty database, which includes detailed information and statistics on over 4,000 cases of animal cruelty, as well as advocacy tools that allow members of the public to be notified by e-mail when updates to a case have been posted.
Through their newest website, www.RescueTransporters.com, they are once again using their techie know-how to provide tools to connect transporters with rescues that so desperately need them.
Transporters can register and create a “transport résumé”, explaining their experience and comfort levels with several different types of animals, including dogs and cats, small mammals, rabbits, reptiles, farmed animals and wildlife. The transporter can then set the geographic radius within which they are willing to transport. When new transport assignments are posted by a rescue group or shelter that fits the transporters profile and geographic range, the transporter automatically receives an e-mail notification, at which point they can choose whether or not to apply for the transport assignment.
From the rescue organization’s perspective, this allows them to reach a broader audience while still maintaining complete control over who is involved with the transport. As the route is planned, they are able to review the transport profiles of the kind folks who have offered to help, and select the ones they feel best meet their needs.
While all this sounds great, how does the rescue group avoid getting involved with a flaky transporter? After the transport is completed, rescues have the ability to rate the transporters and add comments. This rating will be included with the transporters profile, enabling rescue groups to get a good idea of how reliable transporters are over time.
Pet-Abuse.Com director and founder Alison L. Gianotto describes the new website as “a continually-evolving resource”, and looks forward to hearing from transporters and rescue groups with their suggestions. She says that while certain portions of the site are still under development, transporters and rescues can sign-up and begin building their profiles and using the site.
Some of the more tech-savvy shelters and rescues have taken to using online tools such as Yahoo Groups to help coordinate long-range transports in recent years. Gianotto said that while those generic online tools can sometimes be helpful and are often better than nothing, RescueTransporters.Com aims to tackle head-on some of the issues specific to animal transportation. “Since RescueTransporters.Com was tailor-made for exactly this purpose, we are able to closely examine the many challenges that are unique to animal transporting, and develop solutions to address them.”
Gianotto added that since every transport mission is unique, “No system will ever be without room for improvements”, but she said she is extremely optimistic about the tools the new website brings to the table. Future developments may rely heavily on the financial support of the public, and donations are welcome and encouraged.
If you’re interested in checking out this new exciting new service, or if you wish to make a donation towards its continued development, visit www.rescuetransporters.com on the World Wide Web.