Gimme Shelter Portland is Back

Our original GSP campaign, to end the needless killing of dogs and cats at Multnomah County Animals Services (MCAS), was launched in 2008 when almost half of the dogs and cats it impounded were killed. Thousands of animals were dying every year.

Since that time, we’ve worked tirelessly to persuade Multnomah County Commissioners, who tolerated and presided over the failure and dysfunction, to end the blood bath by transforming MCAS into a modern, humane animal services agency.

To facilitate the transformation, we provided a proven formula for achieving a 90% live release rate (the number of animals leaving the shelter alive) which is employed successfully at an ever-increasing number of animal services agencies throughout the US and Canada. We were told, however, that this formula could not/would not work in Multnomah County. 

Over the course of the next several years, we aggressively pressured Commissioners by appealing to their sense of responsibility and compassion.

At the same time, animal loving citizens were becoming increasingly interested in rescue and shelter issues. When a 90% live release rate was universally accepted as the new standard for modern animal service agencies, MCAS’s high rate of killing became socially unacceptable. Commissioners were forced into yielding to public pressure and made what we now know were token gestures towards improvement. Since 2010, MCAS has claimed increased live release rates.

With the hiring of a new director in fall of 2016, we were hopeful that Multnomah County would continue to make progress towards becoming a successful, high performing agency, with a verifiable, sustainable 90%+ live release rate.

However, the recent release of the County’s Auditor’s July 2018 Animal Services Report, a follow up to its February 2016 Animal Services Performance Audit, proved us very wrong.

First, the public learned that MCAS reported numbers and statistics cannot be trusted due to inaccurate record keeping in every facet of its operations.  This means the much touted live release is very likely inflated.

Second, we learned that animals are not being provided with basic care and social and human interaction.

Third, we learned that MCAS adopts unsafe dogs to the public putting people and other pets at risk.

Fourth, a staffing plan recommended by the auditor in 2016 to provide efficient organizational structure and function has never been completed

Fifth, employees state that problems detected during the 2016 audit have increased.  Several said management has become even worse, as has morale and other issues that caused auditors in 2016 to characterize the shelter as “a hostile work environment”.

In response, we at Gimme Shelter Portland have resurrected our campaign and are once again fighting for the welfare and lives of the thousands of animals who are unlucky enough to end up at MCAS.

And we’re once again taking our fight to those still most responsible for making changes - the Multnomah County Commissioners.

Half-hearted, piecemeal attempts will no longer placate the public. 

A wholesale reinvention of MCAS beginning with the replacement of current leadership is the only road to change.

Hiring bold, fearless shelter professionals whose experience, skill and dedication will transform MCAS into the modern, humane shelter of which we can all be proud.

Please join us!

Kath O'Malley