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  #21  
Old 08-11-2008
DRNEGRIN6 DRNEGRIN6 is offline
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Originally Posted by Getting too old View Post
I have known other agencies who have contracted out their shelter services, but I have never worked for one. Every one of them have run into some kind of issue that caused the cities to build their own facilities.

When we were in the planning process for building our new shelter, we did contact another agency about contracting with them. They wanted X amount per year for the contract, X amount to add space for their facility, X amount per year to pay an extra kennel tech to care for our animals, we would have had to adopt their ordinances and they would have kept ALL of the fees.

Bottom line, it would have cost us more every five years to contract with them, than it did to build our own.

I believe that the above is true. I have seen the numbers of what private contractors want for services compared to what Townships pay the ACOs/vets. and see that it is more economical for the Townships to hire ACOs and work the shelter themselves. The problem comes when ACOs are hired by nepatisism (sorry if I misspelled the word). The two ACOs in my Township had absolutely no experience when hired. In fact, both were Public Works employees (one of them still does that full-time and is the part-time ACO). I have nothing against hiring new ACOs but when family is involved in the politics, there is a problem. Violations by the ACOs are dismissed, including some that would be considered cruelty if a regular person was to have done the same. Extreme numbers of citations are being charged in order to "rack up" money for the Township. No warnings have ever been issued to the people; just summones. I know because a lot of these people are my clients who have never had any problems before. By the way, a lot of the people filing complaints are friends of these same ACOs, so the friendship seems to play a part as to what occurs. On occasion, they dismiss the charges but not before these citizens have had to waste time going to court, etc. It makes the people not trust ACOs.

The people used to have a hard time with the old private contractors since they failed to show particularly at night and on weekends. This problem was corrected by the Township ACOs for the most part. Now, we have the problem of excessive summones, and other violations that I cannot get into since one of them monitors this site but I have evidence (and/or know where to get if it needed). Unfortunately, the Township "polices" itself, so they never file charges against these men for the violations that they are doing; when I did file a complaint, they came after me. I'm still fighting my battles and will continue to do so. When this is over, I'll let people in on what occurred if the news does not get to it first.
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  #22  
Old 08-11-2008
jfox2008 jfox2008 is offline
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I agree that it is financially ineffective to contract out your shelter services. I, however, am so far down on the food chain that I have no say in that matter here in my city. We pay hundreds of thousands a year to the SPCA and do alot of the "shelter" work ourselves. We vaccinate the animals, take them to the Vet when needed, act as the shelter security when called upon, etc. The only thing we dont do is clean the cages and feed the animals (unless it's after hours when we bring in a new animal). But I would rather the city pay them X amount than to waste most of my day cleaning cages while dogs are suffering out in the real world. If my city were to build its own shelter, I would hope that they would staff it seperately instead of just adding to my already full plate of responsibility.

As far as the ACOs not having experience: well thats pretty much anywhere you go. I had no experience in animal control before being hired. I was law enforcement... which is the trend here. My agency seems to be favoring ex-law enforcement officers over average joes. That is actually bringing experience to the table and I think it's what makes us better at our jobs. They do pair you with a more experienced ACO for the first couple of months, and of course send you to NACA and various other training classes. All in all, every department could be made better, it's up to the individuals to try to make it better rather than complain how everything sucks. If you think it would be better to run your own shelter, go for it. Realize though, once it's built, thats probably something you will never be able to get rid of!
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  #23  
Old 08-11-2008
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But on the other hand...Last year the city decided to put the shelter services out to bid. The winner wanted $800,000.00. The city dragged their feet on developing a contract and told the contractor (who had operated the shelter since 1955) that they had no intention of giving them more money. So the contractor said "keep it" and walked away. The city took over the operations in February. It's a nightmare and they just published the new budget...$1.1 million. We had the opportunity to save a bunch of money.. what the heck? So, now the shelter has all this money and the conditions have plummeted. Have I said today that this place is backasswards?
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Old 08-11-2008
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Originally Posted by ILUVMAXINE View Post
But on the other hand...Last year the city decided to put the shelter services out to bid. The winner wanted $800,000.00. The city dragged their feet on developing a contract and told the contractor (who had operated the shelter since 1955) that they had no intention of giving them more money. So the contractor said "keep it" and walked away. The city took over the operations in February. It's a nightmare and they just published the new budget...$1.1 million. We had the opportunity to save a bunch of money.. what the heck? So, now the shelter has all this money and the conditions have plummeted. Have I said today that this place is backasswards?
But were you really saving any money? On the surface it would appear that you would have saved $300k, but was your agency supplementing the shelter in other ways? We supplement our shelter by proving for all necessary medical expenses for all of our animals and the animals brought in by good sams. That alone would come to far above the $300k a year.
For example: Had you paid the $800k to the shelter, then turned around and provided all medical expenses including transporting the animals (ACO Salary), Vet expenses (Veterinary contract through a local clinic), and medications (and someone to administer them)... you may have been spending closer to 2 million at years end if you have a high number of animals.
It could come in different forms of course, but you have to dig deep to figure out which way is cheaper. It is in most cases far more efficient to do things yourself rather than to pay other people. But it's also a crapload more work and headaches.
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Old 08-11-2008
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Nope. They were not paid for any overages or extra's they had to make due with the contracted amount. However, they also got to keep all the impound fees, licensing fees, adoption fees, etc. So they were able to pay for the extras.
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Old 08-11-2008
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Originally Posted by ILUVMAXINE View Post
Nope. They were not paid for any overages or extra's they had to make due with the contracted amount. However, they also got to keep all the impound fees, licensing fees, adoption fees, etc. So they were able to pay for the extras.
Well, what I guess I mean is that here, even though they are contracted to care for the animals, including medical expenses.... they call us and we transport an animal to a vet clinic and pay for everything ourselves. Nothing comes out of their pocket. So its like we are paying for it twice...
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  #27  
Old 08-19-2008
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Default GREAT input-thanks a lot EVERYONE!

Wow, ask and ye shall have thy mind BLOWN!

Personally speaking, I am all for an increase to the Virginia Beach Animal Control Budget so they can have the resources to do the following:
ABOVE ALL) PAY THE OFFICERS & SHELTER STAFF A DECENT WAGE!
As a taxpayer, I can't help but feel somewhat responsible for their crappy pay scale, after all, if it's true that they "work for me", I've been a little too reticent on pay and benefit issues.
AND THEN,
1) Protect the animals in our city from cruelty, neglect and abuse
2) Enforce the state and local animal welfare laws with an eye towards education and cooperation with the citizens-a lot of these folks just don't know any better-maybe we could have a class like you have to attend if you get popped on a DUI?
3) Provide a WORLD CLASS animal shelter that is sufficient to the needs of the animals, the staff and the citizens for the next 30 years. Not a dungeon, but a place that is open, well lit and INVITING for people to visit-if need be we can steal a few pages out of the playbooks of Wal-Mart and Target to attract adopters.
4) Provide low-cost spay/neuter services to every animal being adopted as well as for the general public (relaxed financial/income guidelines)
5) Provide public education to the citizens using innovative methods to teach the next generation.
6) Locate an animal shelter in a place where people can actually FIND IT, not by an airport, not by the water treatment plant but in a high-volume traffic area that makes it EASY for people to visit.
7) Increase the utilization of technology to actually make it EASIER to promote the animals and process the adoption applications-is there anything more cumbersome than the adoption process's at some of these places? I've worked on some of these online adoption applications that went for over 100 questions-more long-winded than I am!

Big dreams? Yea. The way I see it, we're only going to have the chance to build a new shelter in this city ONCE in my lifetime, so we need to do it right.

What we are lacking is the political willpower to make it happen and as frustrating as it is, I just can't find the right person whose desk I need to leap over because it's always "this other public official" or "this other department head".
I can't find the right person who can make these things happen. I don't mind the expense, I would even support a reasonable tax increase and help sell it to others as a necessary expense-and I'm pretty good at that.
I just can't find anyone who is more interested in this need than they are another hotel or "public-private partnership".....

I wonder if Purina would be interested in something like this????
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