MCAS IS FAILING ANIMALS & PEOPLE
Animals at MCAS are suffering, people and animals are at risk of injury, reports and data are inaccurate, money is wasted and misspent, hiring and staffing is haphazard, planning and accountability is non-existent. Most shocking, however, is that live release rates, which MCAS so vehemently touts as a measure of its success, are inflated.
MULTNOMAH COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES OPERATES WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY & OVERSIGHT
COMMISSIONERS, WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAILURES, REFUSE TO ACT BY OFFERING THE EXCUSE THAT:
“MCAS is simply underfunded and understaffed.”
TRUTH: in ten years, MCAS intake has decreased 51% while its budget has increased 81% now costing taxpayers more than $10 million a year. In addition, the number of full time staff has almost doubled.
ACCORDING TO THE JULY 2018 MULTNOMAH COUNTY AUDITOR’S REPORT:
Multnomah County Animal Services FAILS to meet national standards of shelter care 66% of the time resulting in its inability to provide basic animal care such as cleaning and feeding.
MCAS FAILS to provide dogs with adequate interaction with people, physical activity or mental stimulation, creating serious medical and behavior problems.
MCAS FAILS to prevent unsafe dogs from being adopted putting people and other animals at risk from injury.
MCAS FAILS to hold lost animals for the required 72 hour time to allow pets to be reunited with their owners.
MCAS FAILS to generate complete and accurate data casting grave doubts on its most highly touted performance measure, Live Release Rate (the number of animals leaving the shelter alive). The high Live Release Rate MCAS claims, is inflated and, thanks to the Auditor’s resport, we now know the methods it uses to hide the true numbers of animals it kills.
MCAS IS AWASH IN TAXPAYER MONEY WHICH IS SPENT WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY BY LEADERSHIP AND NO OVERSIGHT BY COMMISSIONERS
According to the April 2016 County Auditor’s Report, “Animal Services Finances - Follow Sound Financial Policies”:
MCAS fails to spend money donated to the four (now five) designated funds according to the donors’ intended wishes.
$100,000 in public donations to Dolly’s fund, which provides medical care for animals in need of emergency surgeries and veterinary care, was diverted to the general fund, violating County policy.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue are lost due to low license compliance rates of 33% for dogs and 19% for cats. Add to this the significant amounts of license fee revenues which are written off due to MCAS’s failure to follow County procedures to properly bill, collect, monitor and age accounts due.
Each year for five years the Commission approved funding for the newly defunct FY 2013, ACT Program #91004 even though it cost taxpayers a whopping $320 to spay/neuter each cat in the program.
FY 2014 Program #91009 which was to have been spent to pay a consultant “to look at the structure of the organization with special attention to the fiscal support operations to ensure it is designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness” was instead spent to pay a consultant to teach a Six Sigma approach to adoptions which was never implemented.
The current Director practices nepotism, creating FY 2018 Program #91009A (total cost $164,634) for a friend, which duplicated the mission of a non-profit the friend had been fired from, paying her to hang around the shelter from November 2016 to June 2017 while waiting for the program to be approved. It was not.
$700,000 from FY 2015, Program #78015 - Animal Services Renovation, is unaccounted for and duplicated in FY 2019 Program # 91007A at a cost of $250,000.
The CAT Adoption Center opened in June, 2015 at an unreported cost, was created with no pre-planning and no cost/benefit analysis. It was closed after three months.
THE ONLY WAY TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE AT MCAS IS TO:
Replace current director and Director of Community Services with an outside director, interim CEO, turn-around specialist.
Create a strategic plan covering all aspects of agency operations setting clear policies, highest standards and practices demanding close oversight and accountability.
Replace MCAS with a new agency which operates on transparency and accountablity reflective of our community’s progressive, pet-friendly values.
Make a priority of addressing the most egregious deficiencies including restoring employee and volunteer morale, ensuring animal health and public safety, and guaranteeing data accuracy.
Pass a resolution stating that MCAS will establish and maintain a 90% live release rate.