The Million Cat Challenge Shelter Consultation Tour!

Shelter Ops experts seeking ambitious shelter ready to make positive change in your facility, and in your community.

Thanks to a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund, we’re taking the world’s largest feline lifesaving initiative on the road. If you are ready to elevate your shelter to the next level of lifesaving but you are not exactly sure where to start and you don’t have the funds to cover a shelter assessment in your budget, we’ll meet you half way. You bring the desire, we’ll bring the team of experts.

Yup, you read that right. We’re giving five shelters a full onsite assessment ($30,000 value) led by Million Cat Challenge experts completely FREE OF CHARGE. Here’s what you need to know:

The assessments will be led by Team Shelter USA's Dr. Sara Pizano and MCC Program Manager Cameron Moore, along with a team of shelter professionals. This dynamic duo has a track record that is unsurpassed. Together they’ve enabled over 90 shelters across North America to optimize their operations and immediately start realizing their goals. Here are just a few shelters that have been transformed in less than one year:

  • Anderson County, South Carolina increased the live release rate from 50 percent to 90 percent for dogs and cats in 3 months with no increase in their budget or staff numbers and has remained over 90 percent since.
  • El Paso, Texas decreased euthanasia of cats by 3,500 in year 1 and increased the dog live release rate too.
  • A Cincinnati, Ohio coalition formed after our assessment and the following year received a $110,000+ community grant from PetSmart Charities (groups had not known or worked together until we introduced them).

If you are chosen for this opportunity, the Million Cat Challenge assessment team will provide expertise and make recommendations for more impactful life-saving and cost-effective public and animal safety services in the areas of:

  • Shelter Best Practices such as facility design, intake policies, housing/enrichment,

    population management and live outcome programs

  • Community cat program management
  • Public policy and enforcement programs
  • Fiscally responsible budgeting
  • Management of employees and volunteers
  • Sustainable resolution through community wide and shelter programs
  • Community access to targeted spay/neuter and subsidized

The process is simple but intense. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Getting to know you. Together we’ll gather information about your shelter, community, policymakers and local ordinances. Before your shelter can be approved for a pro bono assessment, our team will schedule a conference call with your leadership team to review the process.
  • Making the trip. Our team will spend 4-5 days at your shelter
  • We’re rolling deep. We are a training program, so you can expect to see our experts accompanied by other veterinarians, shelter managers, and/or veterinary students who are training to become the experts of tomorrow. Don’t worry though, we are entirely self-sufficient and do not require travel accommodations/reimbursements. Your couches are safe 😊
  • Meeting the family. Change occurs when stakeholders buy in. A Best Practice presentation will be provided one evening during the assessment week. All stakeholders, shelter staff, animal welfare advocates and public are encouraged to attend and learn how they can support the shelter. When helpful, we’ll meet with policymakers, board members, and local animal welfare organizations. You’ll be responsible for bringing everyone to the table so we can strategize as a team.
  • After the party. You’ll receive a full report of our Best Practice recommendations customized for your shelter. Additionally, we’ll touch base every month for 6 months to track progress and trouble-shoot implementation.

Written recommendations will be provided by the assessment team within 2 weeks following the onsite assessment. Any recommendations made will be fiscally responsible, address enforcement efficiencies to provide for public and animal safety, productively decrease intake with alternatives to intake, decrease length of stay in the shelter and increase live outcome to end euthanasia as population control. Attention will be paid to the community cat program with the intent of identifying and eliminating barriers to live outcome.

This isn’t just about the cats, we’re going to cover your canine needs too. The cats said it was okay.

You’ll be asked to share your story in the discussion group. What have you learned? What have you gained? What were your unique challenges, and how did you overcome them? How have the recommendations changed your shelter?

We love to promote the good work being done by shelters, which means we’ll want to share your photos, video footage, and stories.

Applications are currently closed. Please check back for future opportunities.

Interested in having us over? Before you click here to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity, let’s gather a few things:

  1. Here is a downloadable application so you organize your application materials before submitting online.
  2. Your Shelter Animals Count Basic Data Matrix for 2020
  3. Staff organizational chart
  4. Copy of your local animal control municipal code

How will shelters be chosen for this opportunity? Our selection process is simple and transparent.

  1. We are looking for shelters that are ready for change and have demonstrated a readiness to implement recommendations.
  2. All other things equal, we will choose shelters that impact the greatest number of animals.
  3. Of course, you must be a Million Cat Challenger. 

Consultation Team

  • Dr. Sara Pizano

  • Cameron Moore

With Dr. Pizano's and Cameron’s help, we were able to leverage administration and our county council to make important changes to how our community looks at animal control, how we live with community cats, and what services are truly needed in our county to build a no-kill community.

- Shelly Simmons, CAWA
Greenville County Animal Care


In June 2017, Cameron did an assessment at our high kill shelter in Springfield GA. At the time of our assessment we were at approximately a 50% euthanasia rate.  While our process has not been as fast as other shelters that start using the assessment recommendations in their entirety, we are now at a 28% euthanasia average for the year of 2018.

- Lorna Shelton, Director
Effingham County Animal Shelter


The objective evaluation that was provided to us by Cameron and Sara helped support program concepts we had been considering and offered new ideas. It gave us an advantage when talking with administrators... Since the evaluation, we have made many changes and our intake numbers are declining as is euthanasia. The recommendations they offered have served as a template for progressive change and kept us motivated.

- Kim Staton, Director
Osceola County Animal Services


When these two arrived in Memphis, it was the first time I felt like I had people there who understood what I was going through, were compassionate to the challenges facing a new municipal shelter director, and came with real actionable plans that I could put in place...  I hope everyone who feels overwhelmed running an animal shelter that is trying to get to no kill can have a chance to benefit from their 'Survivor' skills.

- Alexis Pugh Director,
Memphis Animal Services have changed my life. Opened my eyes. I always want what is best for the shelter and the community, but sometimes when you are sitting in it, it is hard to get the right perspective. Thank you again.

- Sarah Brown
Manatee County Animal Services