Dear Media Friends:
The story of our work and the deserving, endearing Fidos we free makes GREAT news. It’s positive, it’s visual, it’s community-oriented, and the change is so tangible you can see it with your eyes and feel it in your heart.
Fences For Fido has grown at a phenomenal pace, due in large part to the media coverage we’ve received. We gratefully welcome stories about our mission, our tireless and compassionate volunteers, our impact on communities, and our work to open hearts, change minds, and strengthen laws to improve the lives of (wo)man’s best friend.
To make your important job just a tiny bit easier, we’ve compiled this brief fact sheet with our media policies, our contact list, and our pertinent data.
Fences For Fido Media and PR Committee
- Please do not reveal the actual physical address of our clients who receive fences. Our clients are taking a hugely positive step to improve their dogs’ lives, but the issue of chaining can evoke powerful public reaction. We want to shield them and their dogs from any unwelcome interference. We also ask for your discretion so wide shots of the property don’t reveal the street name and house number.
- Please seek client permission to use their names or images. We love it when our clients want to talk to the media about their reason for getting a fence and the positive changes they’ve seen in their newly-unchained dog. Many clients are happy to share, but we must respect those who want more privacy. We are guests on their property, and often we have gotten there through a lengthy process of trust-building.
- Please seek out our appointed spokespeople. We have the best volunteers in the world, and we hope you’ll talk to them about why they volunteer and how it changes their lives. For any information about our organization, its data, budget, policies, history, etc., please talk to our spokespeople listed on this fact sheet.
- And, of course, be safe. A build is essentially a construction site with chained dogs. We have appointed lead volunteers at every build who can guide you about a given dog’s approachability and any potential hazards.
For more information, please contact our media relations coordinator:
Nadya Vera (English/Spanish speaking)
Mission Statement: Fences for Fido has a mission to improve the quality of life for dogs who spend most or all hours confined to a tether or small kennel. We provide a fenced yard, insulated shelter, spay/neuter surgery, and urgent veterinary care as needed.
Date Founded: May 2009, when nine friends built our first fence for a Portland dog named Chopper
Nonprofit Status: We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Management and Governance: We are ALL VOLUNTEER. The organization is overseen by a volunteer board of directors. We are a stand-alone organization not affiliated with or under the umbrella of any other organization.
Funding Sources: 100% donations. We hold one or two major fundraising events each year. We partner with great local businesses and organizations for events that raise funds and awareness. We also seek grants from private and corporate foundations.
Our geographic reach: Oregon and SW Washington. We have volunteer crews located in Portland, Salem, Bend/Redmond, Longview, and Newport.
What’s wrong with tethering: Long-term tethering or chaining presents numerous risks to dogs, their families, and their neighbors. Dogs are social animals. Their wild ancestors live in packs, and when dogs live with humans, we are their pack. A dog on a chain is separated from his pack and forced to live a solitary life, which can cause emotional and behavioral problems. Chained dogs are vulnerable to attacks by other dogs and wild animals, and are exposed to physical dangers from entangled chains that can cause strangulation or prevent the dog from reaching food, water, and shelter. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association warn that chained dogs are as much as 8 times more likely to bite.
Who qualifies for a fence: There are no financial qualifiers. While most of the families we serve are low-income, we do not ask for financial information. We build the fence based on the dog’s need.
What does a fence cost? It’s free! We never charge our clients for our work. It is our gift to them as they embark on a new way of living with their furry friends. With donated labor and bulk discounts on materials, FFF’s hard cost is about $600 per fence.
How we hear about Fidos in need: On our website, there’s a request form where families can apply for their own fence or anyone who observes a chained dog can give the us the address and other information we need to initiate contact with the family. We also hear about dogs through local law enforcement, shelters, service agencies, and animal control agencies.
What happens after the fence is built: We have a saying: “Once a Fido, always a Fido.” And we mean it. Every Fido gets a follow-up visit at least once a year. Our clients sign an agreement to keep their dogs off chains for the rest of their lives and to call us if their wily Fido has learned to open the gate or climb over. We have ways of fixing that. When we return for regular “spritzer” visits, we disperse our volunteers throughout the region with fresh dog beds in the winter, flea treatment and new water bowls in the summer, and treats and toys any time.
About spay/neuter: We offer a free spay/neuter surgery to every dog that receives a fence. We can do this because of special nonprofit rates offered through local veterinary clinics and the high-volume spay-neuter clinic at Willamette Humane Society in Salem.
About our adoptable dogs: Our primary mission is to unchain dogs so they can be happy and free at their own homes, but about 18% of the dogs we encounter eventually end up surrendered to our care. This happens for a variety of reasons and usually has to do with a family hardship or change in circumstances. We have an adoption/rescue committee that works to place each dog in a FFF foster home or with a local shelter or rescue group where they can find their forever family.
HB 2783: Fences For Fido was instrumental in getting this bill through the Oregon legislature and was present when Governor Kitzhaber signed it into law. The new law became effective January 1, 2014. It limits the time a dog can spend on a tether and clarifies requirements for shelter and humane care.