Report: animal shelter does much with limited staff, other resources
Published 9:12 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015
In an Animal Shelter Advisory Board meeting Tuesday night, city intern Joe Collins presented a report in which he determined that the shelter is efficient when compared with national standards, but that it has achieved this with minimal staffing and insufficient funding.
“We are going to have to increase funding or gain more volunteers,” Mayor Leon Humphrey said.
The trustee program currently in place is largely responsible for the shelter to be able to meet national standards at far below the costs of other shelters, however, trustees work about 50 hours per week and shelter Director Stacy Heiden works an average of seven and a half hours unpaid overtime weekly. Collins recommended hiring an additional employee.
Unfortunately, recommendations made by Collins require two resources that the shelter is always strapped for: time and money.
“We’re kidding ourselves with this shoestring budget, but we can finally document why we need funding,” Humphrey said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
The shelter recently hired a custodial supervisor and hopes to hire a certified vet technician soon.
Collins suggested that the board standardize operations and improve accountability by creating an administrative manual, writing personnel policies and evaluating the shelter director.
Collins’ findings revealed also that the euthenasia rate of dogs has decreased dramatically over the past five years, and that the annual release of live dogs has increased dramatically as well. Live release figures for cats, however, have only marginally improved.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the former shelter director, the work load is overwhelming for the staff. When Heiden recently took the position, she was faced with tasks like updating neglected records, getting files onto the computer and trying to manage the ever-growing intake of new pets.
“She had nothing to help her make the transition,”board Chairman Mike Barnett said.
Heiden commended the work of the former director, saying she was an excellent bridge and that she made much-needed improvements at the shelter.