Frequently Asked Questions
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Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) is the only publicly funded, open admission animal agency in the county, also known as animal control or “the pound”.
It’s stated mission is “to protect the health, safety and welfare of pets and people in Multnomah County”.
MCAS is located 18 miles east of Portland at 1700 W. Historic Columbia River Highway in Troutdale.
MCAS should not be confused with The Oregon Humane Society (OHS) which is located at 1067 N.E. Columbia Blvd. in Portland. OHS is not affiliated with any other local or national organization. Unlike MCAS, it receives no taxpayer funds but exists entirely on voluntary contributions of individuals and businesses in the community.
A majority of MCAS funding comes from Multnomah County property and business taxes, also known as the General Fund. In addition to this, the City of Portland pays a yearly subsidy to support the MCAS Field Service Program. The balance of funding comes from the sale of dog and cat licenses, fees, forfeitures, and donations.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ESTABLISHING POLICIES AND GOALS, APPROVING BUDGETS AND OVERSEEING THE PERFORMANCE OF MCAS?
THE MULTNOMAH COUNTY CHAIR & COMMISSIONERS
Multnomah County Animal Services is under the jurisdiction of the elected officials of Multnomah County: Chair Jeff Cogen, Commissioners Deborah Kafoury, Diane McKeel, Judy Shiprack and Loretta Smith.
As the County’s Chief Executive Officer, Chair Cogen administers and oversees most county programs including Multnomah County Animal Services.
The Chair executes Board policies, contracts, bonds and other instruments and prepares the executive budget for submission.
The Commissioners conduct all legislative activity of the County, adopt policies, sit at the budget committee, review and amend the executive budget, act as liasons to departments and advisory boards.
THE MAYOR & COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF PORTLAND
The City of Portland has no official say in policy, budget decisions, management and oversight of Multnomah County Animal Services. This responsibility is left exclusively to the Multnomah County Chair and Commissioners.
However, elected officials, Mayor Sam Adams, Commissioners Randy Leonard, Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman have an enormous stake in every decision governing the policies and performance of MCAS.
80% of the property and business tax dollars which provide MCAS funding come from City of Portland taxpayers. In addition to this, City taxpayers have paid $459,725 to subsidize MCAS Field Service Program over the last six years.
Beyond the yearly financial investment the City makes in MCAS is this undeniable fact:
Every day that this agency is allowed to operate without accountability and oversight, unchallenged by elected officials of the City and County, Portland’s image as a progressive pet-friendly community is diminished.
A no kill shelter saves all animals except those dogs and cats irremediably suffering or non-rehabilitatable.
A no kill shelter does not deny reasonable medical care, socialization training or behavior modification to dogs and cats. It is a shelter where healthy dogs and cats, sick and injured but treatable dogs and cats, behaviorally challenged or traumatized dogs and cats and healthy and treatable feral cats are saved.
Save rates at the best performing no kill shelters in the country from diverse regions and demographics, confirm that over 90% of all shelter animals are treatable / manageable/ savable.
A no kIll shelter can be private or public, limited or open admission.
No kill is achieved by implementing The No Kill Equation, a proven formula for success.
The most successful method for reducing shelter killing in open admission shelters is a eleven-step program called The No Kill Equation. When implemented comprehensively and rigorously the programs and services are proven to reduce killing:
1. TNR Program for Feral Cats
2. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay / Neuter
3. Rescue Groups *
4. Foster Care *
5. Comprehensive Adoption Programs
6. Pet Retention
7. Medical and Behavioral Rehabilitation *
8. Public Relations / Community Involvement
9. Volunteers *
10. Proactive Redemptions (Return to Owner or RTO)
11. A Compassionate Director
* MCAS currently offers these programs and services on a limited basis.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY FOR THE CITY & COUNTY TO OFFICIALLY PASS A NO KILL RESOLUTION AND ADOPT AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN?
By passing a resolution, elected officials of The City of Portland and Multnomah County officially declare their intention to provide this community with a modern, full service animal services agency which performs up to 21st century standards.
The adopted implementation plan, serves as a road map to achieve this goal.
The resolution and plan become permanent and immutable, not subject to revision despite changing administrations, leadership and management.
WASHOE COUNTY REGIONAL ANIMAL SERVICES, (WCRAS) NEVADA
In 2007, Washoe County Nevada, under the guidance of the Nevada Humane Society and the No Kill Advocacy Center, instituted a no kill program using the No Kill Equation.
As a result, in just one year the kill rate dropped 51% for dogs and 52% for cats even though the 2007 intake was an astounding 16,000 animals.
In 2009, the save rate for dogs was 92% and the save rate for cats was 83%.
TO READ MORE ABOUT THE WASHOE COUNTY MODEL CLICK HERE.
TO FIND OUT HOW MCAS MEASURES UP AGAINST WASHOE COUNTY CLICK HERE TO READ “IT’S ALL IN THE NUMBERS.”
TOMPKINS COUNTY SPCA
Tompkins County SPCA – Transformed into one of the first no kill public agencies in the U.S..
In March of 2010, citizens in Austin, Texas convinced the Austin City Council to adopt a No Kill Implementation Plan at Austin’s municipal shelter, which killed roughly half of the animals it impounded in 2009.
Since that time, the number of animals killed by this agency has decreased by 50% and Austin is well on it’s way to realizing it’s no kill goal.
There is no correlation between a shelter’s budget and its save rate. Poorly funded shelters have achieved no kill, well funded shelters have failed.
Many no kill programs and policies are revenue neutral or can actually save money.
Success is a matter of leadership.
The most successful animal services funding model is Calgary Animal Services in the City of Calgary, Alberta Canada.
Under the leadership of Director Bill Bruce, it set out in 1999 to free itself from a dependence on an unpredictable and ever-changing tax base.
Using common sense, ingenuity and entrepreneurial principles, it began promoting responsible pet ownership, providing education, information and most importantly, a full range of services to pet owners and the community.
It is a value based model, built on community engagement. Pet owners willingly “buy in” as an investment in the full range of services and “perks” they receive.
Calgary Animal Services is now completely self-funded from the sale of pet licenses and fees generating $5.4 million in revenue in 2009.
TO READ ABOUT THE CALGARY, ALBERTA MODEL CLICK HERE.
The latest in a series of task forces attempting to solve the problems plaguing MCAS was the Joint City / County Animal Services Task Force appointed in the Spring of 2008.
It was charged by Commissioner Randy Leonard and then Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler with providing options to address MCAS’ declining levels of service and to identify sustainable funding sources. Commissioner Leonard also stated that “the City would wish to move away from euthanasia.”
The Task Force worked diligently but, in the end, resulted in no definitive changes to the funding sources or performance of MCAS. The Multnomah County Chair and Commissioners voted an 19% increase the FY 2011 Budget for “more of the same”.
The traditional animal control model has remained unchanged for the last 150 years: adopt a few kill the rest.
Entrenched bureaucrats content with the status quo, shelter directors hostile to calls for reform, agencies mired in failed philosophies of the past and those who have internalized a culture of defeatism fail to implement the programs and services with a demonstrated track record for saving lives.
It is easier to continue living in the past than changing course, even when change requires no more money or staff than the status quo.
“Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.” William Shakespeare
1. A basic understanding of the issues.
2. Holding those in power accountable.
3. Demanding change.
The performance of any institution, public or private, is a direct reflection of the qualities and values of its leaders.
The leadership of smart, decisive and fearless elected city and county officials who are not content to preside over the status quo, is the key to effecting change.
The leadership of an innovative, hardworking, compassionate animal services director who is unwilling to hide behind the excuse of “too many animals, not enough money” is the key to a successful agency.