IN RESPONSE TO CALLS FOR CHANGE AT MCAS, COGEN GOES ON THE RECORD WITH THE FOLLOWING CLAIMS:
COGEN CLAIMS: CITIZENS MUST UNDERSTAND THAT PUBLIC AGENCIES HAVE A BROAD RANGE OF CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
The Multnomah County Animal Services 2011 Budget totals $5.3 million, $3.4 million (65%) from taxpayers.
With this funding, MCAS should be expected to confidently and effectively carry out its mandated mission “to protect the health, safety and welfare of pets and people in Multnomah County.”
Compare Multnomah County Animal Services with the agency model GSP proposes to replace it – Calgary Animal Services:
– – – – – – – – – -MCAS – – – – – CALGARY ANIMAL SERVICES
Budget $5.3 million $5.4 million (no tax dollars)
Population 717,800 1,017,515
Employees 49 49
Because of the dedication and innovation it displays in serving the community, Calgary Animal Services is consistently rated the number one public agency for citizen satisfaction.
Dedicated leadership working in a modern, innovative, public agency model are the keys to success.
MCAS and Calgary Animal Services, two agencies with comparable funding and staffing, operate on opposite ends of the spectrum. One generates its own funding, one is dependent on tax dollars. One strives for continuous improvement and the other makes excuses.
COGEN CLAIMS: MCAS RETURN-TO-OWNER AND SAVE RATES FOR DOGS ARE HIGHER THAN AVERAGE.
According to MCAS records, its return-to-owner (RTO) rate is 40% for dogs and 3% for cats. Compare these numbers to Calgary Animal Services, the self-funded public agency model proposed as a replacement for MCAS, which reports a return-to-owner rate of 86% for dogs and 50% for cats.
According to its records, MCAS’ save rate for dogs is 80% and 39% for cats. By adding the numbers of dogs killed (571) to the number of cats killed (3173) and dividing it by intake (8045), its overall save rate in 2009 is actually just 47%. Compare these numbers to Washoe County Regional Animal Services (Reno, Nevada), which reports an overall save rate of 91%.
MCAS has a history of comparing it’s performance to the “average” in an attempt to make it appear more effective.
Competent leadership aspires to the highest standards. However, Multnomah County officials consistently defend maintaining the status quo.
COGEN CLAIMS: WE WORK WITH PARTNER AGENCIES.
MCAS is lucky to have partner agencies and groups, many of whom are working at their own expense and on their on time. They are the unsung heroes of this community.
Individuals and groups rescued 1,000 animals from a certain death at MCAS.
COGEN CLAIMS: WE ARE INUNDATED WITH CATS.
Modern shelters employ aggressive high-volume, low cost spay / neuter programs and comprehensive Trap-Neuter-Return Programs for ferals proven to reduce intake and save lives.
The fact that cat / kitten intake is so high proves that MCAS does not offer the programs and services necessary to reduce the numbers.
COGEN CLAIMS: 80% OF THE COMMUNITY’S SERVICE NEED IS IN THE CITY OF PORTLAND.
80% of the tax dollars supporting MCAS come from Portland residents!
MCAS has a history of blaming Portland residents for its inadequate performance.
COGEN CLAIMS: WE ARE PLANNING TO BUILD A NEW CENTRALLY LOCATED SHELTER WHICH WILL IMPROVE PERFORMANCE.
A new building, no matter how well-located, will not fix the chronic problems plaguing MCAS. Until elected officials take action to replace the traditional animal control model with a modern animal services agency, taxpayer dollars will continue to be wasted and animals will continue to die.
Multnomah County will find it impossible to gain financial support to fund the building of a new facility without replacing its current model and leadership.
COGEN CLAIMS: MCAS IS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF A.S.A.P. WHOSE JOINT MISSION IS TO END THE KILLING OF HEALTHY, ADOPTABLE ANIMALS.
MCAS employs a system of classifying impounded animals as healthy, treatable or unhealthy which allows it to claim that it is meeting this goal. According to its own reporting (the most recent from 2009) it killed 2,185 (or 61%) of all treatable animals These animals may only have needed some degree of medical treatment, socialization training or behavior modification.
Washoe County Regional Animal Services (Reno, Nevada), by comparison, saves all healthy and treatable animals.
COGEN CLAIMS: THE JOINT CITY / COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS FORMED THE FOUNDATION FOR RECENT SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS AND ARE CREATING A NEW DIRECTION FOR THE FUTURE.
The Joint City / County Animal Services Task Force was convened in the Spring of 2008, with the goals of finding options to “provide restored animal services beyond the reduced-service status quo” and “identify sustainable funding sources that put the bulk of operating an animal services program on animal owners”.
Before presenting Task Force recommendations to the Commission, however, the newly appointed Chair, on the advice of MCAS, changed the language of the above stated goals. This served his purpose of reducing public expectations.
Since no specific numbers or goals concerning funding models, restored and enhanced services or reduced euthanasia were set, agency performance and funding remains unchanged. With the goals altered, the County can claim that Task Force recommendations have been or will be fulfilled.
The 2008 Task Force was just the latest in a series of citizen task forces appointed to solve MCAS ongoing problems.
It is now time for the County Commission to confront this issue directly, by taking the bold, decisive steps required to transform failure into success. If not now, when?