The Mission of Out the Front Door:

I started Out the Front Door (OTFD) as a blog in 2013 to be a news source for people who were working to improve live release rates in animal shelters. Today OTFD has evolved into a multimedia website, but its purpose is still to help people get information about shelter lifesaving and connect with each other.

Experience has shown us that the most successful way to make fast progress toward saving all healthy and treatable shelter animals is for the private sector to work with the public shelter. This may be in the form of one or more private organizations partnering with a city or county public shelter to do whatever parts of lifesaving the public shelter can’t do. It may be in the form of a private organization winning a contract to run the city or county shelter. It may be a coalition of private and public organizations that work together across a large metro area. Or it could be a coalition of rescues that bands together to help a public shelter.

Animal sheltering was one of the first examples of public-private partnerships in the United States, starting back in 1870 when a private SPCA run entirely by women won a contract to take over the cruel Philadelphia dog pound and run it more humanely. That proud tradition continues today in hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. that are saving 90% or more of their intake. OTFD is dedicated to helping shelter workers learn about these success stories and make their own connections in their own communities, because that has proven to be such a powerful engine for lifesaving.

My views on shelter lifesaving were heavily influenced by research I did while writing Prodigal Pets: A History of Animal Sheltering in America and the Origin of the No Kill Movement. To allow as many people as possible to read the book I decided to publish it online, and it is part of this website. The website also contains a library which is a work in progress. Getting permissions to publish documents can be a slow process, but I hope to eventually have a large collection of important current and historical documents in the OTFD Library.