Animal related

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE

Colorado Springs, CO   |  http://milldogrescue.org

Mission

To rescue, rehabilitate and rehome discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.

Notes from the nonprofit

We are members of the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies. We are licensed under the Colorado Pet Animal Care Facilities Act. We collaborate with organizations including the Denver Dumb Friends League, North Shore Animal League America, and several other shelters and rescues for purposes of increasing opportunities for adoption of our dogs.

We received in 2013 the Henry Bergh award from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). We have been honored by the SPCA-Angell in Boston, North Shore Animal League America, and American Humane Association for our work.

Ruling year info

2007

Founder and executive director

Mrs. Theresa Strader

Chief Operating Officer

Col. Charles Arnold

Main address

PO Box 88468

Colorado Springs, CO 80908 USA

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EIN

26-0574783

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are addressing the problem of thousands of dogs receiving substandard care in commercial breeding facilities. We focus on puppy millers in Midwest states where federal and state oversight is virtually nonexistent. Those states are Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska, but we go elsewhere when contacted by breeders who are shutting down or looking to discard non-profitable dogs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Rescue

We make an average of two trips a month to Midwest puppy mills whose owners have contacted us because they are ready to retire/destroy some of their dogs. We have built relationships with about 200 mill owners over the years. We do not purchase these dogs; we rescue them. A typical rescue trip involves a 3 to 6 day journey covering 1,500 to 4,000 miles across several states. An average of 103 dogs were rescued monthly on 27 trips in 2018. am. A total of 1,233 dogs were saved in 2018. While we wish we could rescue many more, we know our limitations. We adhere to a strict policy of not overcrowding our kennel facility. Doing so would jeopardize the well-being of the dogs already in our care and overburden our most valuable asset--our volunteers. Also, because we serve a difficult population of dogs and are careful to place them in only the most appropriate homes, we take substantially more time in rehabilitation and adoption screening than would be required for dogs that are already adjusted to family life.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Adults
Budget
$138,360

The average per-dog cost for in-house veterinary care is $250.

This program is among our greatest prides. Our outstanding in-house team members, including three veterinarians, three technicians and one assistant, are experts in intricate and extensive surgical and dental procedures. They take immaculate care of our dogs.

Every incoming dog is examined, vaccinated, dewormed and heartworm-tested. Medical conditions dealt with frequently include pyometra, injured and infected eyes, ears scarred from prolonged untreated infections, parasite infestation, leg and foot deformities, blindness, deafness, hernias, mammary tumors, other cancers, decayed, infected teeth and rotted gums.

We also call regularly on many private-practice veterinarians for treatment of the most severely ill and injured dogs or those with conditions that require specialized diagnostic and/or surgical care. In 2014 and 2015, almost one-third of our dogs benefited from the skill and expertise of nine different specialty clinics in Colorado Springs and Denver. Our average cost for outside care in 2015 exceeded $10,000 per month.

It is important to note that expenses for outside veterinary care continue to rise because we are emphasizing the rescue of more dogs from truly horrific conditions and rescuing more seniors with complex health issues.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$467,000

Educating the public is critical to our mission. It is the long-term solution to bringing about awareness and change in the commercial dog breeding industry.

Our rescued dogs themselves and the publicity generated about them are the best ways to capture the attention of the unaware public. From there, we inform everyone willing to listen.

We conduct an impressive, ongoing outreach program, reaching thousands of people through traditional and social media, as well as through service groups, school programs, Scout troops, special events, open houses and adoption fairs. We enjoy TV and radio coverage in Colorado Springs, as well as nationally, with articles published in newspapers, magazines and online.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$135,641

Most discarded mill dogs have had minimal veterinary care and limited socialization with humans. Nevertheless, the great majority are amazingly forgiving and resilient. Once they receive the medical care they need and learn the trust of a loving hand, most are ready to move on to lifelong homes. The average time they spent with us last year was only 11 weeks. In many shelters that would be considered a long stay, but for a population of dogs that has endured such prolonged neglect, it is a relatively short time to heal. About 20 percent of our dogs do suffer deeper physical and emotional effects from their former lives. These dogs may require extensive veterinary care and/or psychological rehabilitation. Nurturing them often takes many months. We are deeply committed to these dogs and are entirely successful in their restoration to health and eventual placement. Within this group of seriously affected dogs are those whose grave lack of socialization in their former lives causes them to bite. They are in desperate need of security, consistency and, above all, love. They could rarely be given a chance in a conventional shelter setting, but thanks to our intensive rehabilitation efforts, we are able to give them the time and expertise they need to find their courage and learn to trust.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$320,032

Our most effective tools for highlighting our available dogs--as many as 150 at any given time==are our website postings and social media platforms. Our volunteers and staff post exceptional photos and videos along with detailed biographies to introduce our dogs to the public. In addition to our own site, we post on petfinder.com, adoptapet.com, allpaws.com and petango.com. We adopt an average of 60 dogs a month. We are extremely careful in placing our dogs. Potential adopters are screened through an online application that includes questions about lifestyle, expectations, home environment, pets past and present, family members and more. Applicants who are not deterred by the need to housetrain, leash train, and deal with fear responses or special needs move to the next step--a comprehensive phone interview. If they appear to be a good match, counselors contact the veterinary references and request photos of the fenced yard and close-up photos of the gates. If at any point a counselor questions the suitability of an applicant, a home visit is scheduled. Overcoming the behavioral challenges of some puppy mill survivors is certainly not for everyone. Our adoption process helps us and our applicants make the important decision as to whether one of our dogs is the right fit for them. Our goal is to ensure that, through our very best efforts, we are selecting only the finest permanent, loving homes for our dogs.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$135,928

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau 2018

Awards

4-Star Rating 2019

Charity Navigator

Affiliations & memberships

Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies 2018

Metro Denver Animal Welfare Alliance 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animals with freedom from hunger and thirst

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Rescue

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of animals with freedom from discomfort

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Rescue

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Working with national groups, our goal is to shine a light on the shameful and cruel commercial dog-breeding industry until such time as it no longer exists. Until then, our goal is to continue rescuing as many survivors as our resources permit and restore them to health, so that they can know freedom and become the cherished pets they were meant to be. <br/><br/>Our financial goal is to have the resources to continue to care for this population of dogs for 25 years and beyond.

Our strategy for rescuing dogs is unique, in that we have developed working relationships with roughly 200 mill owners. While we loath what they do, we have demonstrated a level of trustworthiness over time, so that they now call us on a regular basis when they have dogs that they are ready to discard. Our strategy for education is to maximize the use of social media and traditional media to get the word out both locally and nationally about the industry. Our strategy for fundraising is also to maximize social media, as well as to send direct mail appeals, hold special events, apply for grants, practice good stewardship, and to register with sites like Guidestar, ColoradoGives, Charity Navigator, Great Nonprofits, the Better Business Bureau and others.

While bringing the puppy mill industry to its knees may not be realistic in our lifetimes, we are entirely capable of reducing through education the number of people who will purchase their next pet at a pet store or through an Internet site. An example of this occurred in 2015 when, through the tireless efforts of our volunteers, one of our rescued dogs -- a grizzled, 15-year-old, one-eyed Chihuahua named Harley -- achieved international status by being selected by the American Humane Association as its 2015 American Hero Dog. Harley's story--and thus the story of the cruelty of the mills--resonated with hundreds of thousands of people, literally around the world, through publicity in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, on the NBC Today Show and the Hallmark Channel programming, through interviews held with his adoptive owners and the NMDR executive director on Capitol Hill in Washington. The story was picked up in Germany, countries in South America, and other locales, for a total of 40,000 impressions. We are also entirely capable of rescuing up to 1,000 dogs annually, meeting all of their medical needs and placing them in homes. This we have established over the past 12 years. We have an 11,000-square-foot kennel facility, a new, state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, a robust volunteer and foster care program, and an outstanding adoption program. Fundraising is our biggest challenge, but with constant effort in this regard, we have proven we can meet the challenge of a $2 million budget per year. We could not do this without hundreds of dedicated volunteers, who devote countless hours and save us the equivalent of roughly 30 full-time employees a year.

Progress indicators include: Number of breeders willing to work with us Number of rescue trips per year (generally 2x per month across several Midwest states) Number of rescued dogs that are successfully rehabilitated and placed in homes Ability to maintain the highest quality care of our dogs through our volunteers and paid staff Ability to meet our kennel and veterinary clinic expenses ($180,000 annually) and other overhead costs Ability to meet the veterinary expenses for specialized care (currently $9,000 average per month) Ability to maintain a solid donor base and attract enough new donors to meet our $2 million budget

We are a leading organization in the country devoted exclusively to rescuing puppy mill survivors. We have grown over the past 12 years from a group of three committed individuals to a an established, respected organization whose day-to-day operations are handled by hundreds of dedicated volunteers. We have only 31 full-time and part-time employees, most of whom are direct caregivers to our dogs. Our work has been recognized by the ASPCA (2013 Henry Bergh Award), the American Humane Association (American Hero Dog), The Humane Society of the United States (featured in Animal Sheltering magazine), People magazine, Dog Time, One Green Planet, and dozens of other sources. Since 2007, we have rescued more than 14,000 dogs. For all of them, we provided extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, socialization and adoption services, with a goal of preparing every one for life in a loving home. What we haven't accomplished? So many dogs must be left behind because the industry is mammoth in size and our resources are limited. Too many people still do not know what a puppy mill is, how the dogs are treated and why they should eschew pet stores and Internet sellers in favor of adoption through rescue groups and shelters.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: social media responses.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.

Financials

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE

Board of directors
as of 6/1/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Christopher Thornton

Christopher Thornton

Ron McClelland

Richard Strader

Kim Green

Jeff Detra

Matt Polgar

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/20/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/20/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Keywords

national mill dog rescue, puppy mill dog, dog rescue, shelter, pet adoption