Amarillo's Animal Control department is going through some major changes.
First and foremost, its name.
The department is now known as Animal Management and Welfare.
The interim director, Scott McDonald, says the name better reflects what they're doing at the department.
The ultimate goal is to reduce the kill-rate at the shelter.
One of the ways to do that is to increase the live-release rate.
The department has hired four new employees to help achieve that goal.
McDonald says the Animal Management and Welfare board is also considering mandatory microchipping of all animals taken into the shelter.
"If we impound an animal, some of the things we do would be that of, that we insure they're vaccinated for rabies. If there are citations that are issued as a result etc. If we can avoid them coming to the shelter, the easiest way to do that on repeat offenders is that if we microchip before that animal leaves, we have a micro chip installed in the animal." Said McDonald.
McDonald says the changes will also reflect a new way of conduct at the shelter and in the field.
Meanwhile, the search for a new director continues.
The outside group Strategic Government Resources (SGR) continues it's search for possible candidates.
They'll have representatives in town later this month to discuss the changes in the department and any possible recruits they've identified so far.
Among the other changes at the shelter, they've added an on-line database for animals taken-in.
This allows owners to search for their lost pets from home.
AMARILLO -- The City of Amarillo is giving Animal Control a new name and new objectives.
The new name is Animal Management & Welfare.
The name change reflects the City’s objectives to: enhance enforcement of existing laws and codes, enhance existing laws and codes to improve their effectiveness, manage the stray animal population and increasing the live release rate at the shelter.
AMARILLO (Press Release) – The City of Amarillo is giving Animal Control a new name and new objectives.
The new name – Animal Management & Welfare – reflects the City’s objectives to: enhance enforcement of existing laws and codes, enhance existing laws and codes to improve their effectiveness, manage the stray animal population and increasing the live release rate at the shelter. More than just a new name, these changes reflect a new way of conduct – one of inclusion, transparency and of compassion. These principles will continue to shape the City’s efforts moving forward.
In its search for a new director, City administrators and the leadership of the City’s Animal Control Board have partnered with Strategic Government Resources (SGR), a professional recruitment firm, to develop a selection process that will include the City’s partners, community stakeholders and interested parties. To that end, SGR representatives will visit our community July 16 and 17, giving interested parties the opportunity to provide input on the types of characteristics sought in the City’s Animal Management & Welfare director.
“As the recruitment process continues, additional opportunities will be provided for community members to meet finalists being considered for the position and for meaningful contributions to the city manager’s decision,” says Bob Cowell, assistant city manager of development services.
While significant improvements have been made to facilities and services, the City also is retaining the assistance of an independent third party to ensure all options are adequately explored and no opportunity is missed. Following extensive consultation with the leadership of the Animal Control Board, the City has initiated contract negotiations with The Target Zero Institute, a non-profit based in Jacksonville, Florida, to conduct its review, currently anticipated for August. Target Zero recently assisted the City of Waco in initiating great progress in improving the welfare of the pets in their custody and in increasing their shelter live release rate.
“This assessment will be performed by an experienced veterinarian who is the program administrator for the Institute,” Cowell says. “In addition to identifying any items requiring immediate attention, the assessment is intended to offer a blueprint for moving our practices toward our stated objectives.”
The assessment and its implementation will be used in the review of finalists for the director position and will serve as the initial set of expectations for the new director once hired. Until then, progress continues to be made under the direction of Interim Director Scott McDonald, who also serves as the City’s chief building official.
Additional resources and personnel were provided by the city manager based upon initial assessments conducted by McDonald and shelter staff. More resources are anticipated including management officers and a new position focused exclusively on the welfare of the pets in the City’s care. Once in place, the new director, assistant director and animal welfare specialist will form a leadership team accountable to City management and the general public ensuring quality care for pets in our facilities and for the efficient achievement of our stated objectives.
- Identifying new objectives of enhanced enforcement of existing laws and codes related to stray animal management, more effective laws and codes, and increasing the live release rate at the shelter
- Changing the name of Amarillo Animal Control to Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare to better reflect the City’s new objectives
- Encouraging a new way of conduct – one of inclusion, transparency and of compassion
- The City and its Animal Control Board have partnered with Strategic Government Resources (SGR), a professional recruitment firm, to develop a selection process that will include the City’s partners, community stakeholders and interested parties in the selection of a new director for Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare
- Negotiated for the services of The Target Zero Institute, a non-profit based in Jacksonville, Florida, to conduct an independent third party review to ensure all options are adequately explored and no opportunity is missed
- Launch of an online tool for lost and impounded animals, including photos and email contact at www.amarillolostpets.com
- Implemented identification banding collar system
- Customer service improvements including adding Saturday hours at the shelter from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Animal Control Officers now providing service until Midnight.
- Replacement of the kennel building doors (scheduled for week of July 14, 2014)
- Kennel fencing improvements and repairs
- Bonding area improvements
- Concrete walkway improvements continue
- Upgrading outdoor partitions between runs
- Replaced and added walk-on scales for a total of two
- Office renovations
- Euthanasia under the care of a licensed veterinarians
- Veterinarians have also provided additional hands-on technique training to Animal Control Officers who are State certified in euthanasia
- Added four additional staff – Animal Care Workers who provide sanitation, nutrition and various other services as assigned
- Improved animal intake process (front station at public service counter and rear impound area)
- Security upgrades; employee badge access for all doors and security cameras
- Improved kennel sanitation protocols
- Routine walkthroughs to evaluate animal health by licensed veterinarians
- Staff development and training improvements
- Implementation of electronic ticket writers
- Greater collaboration with recuses, increasing positive animal outcomes