All animal shelters and rescues have the same broad goal and are dedicated to stopping animal homelessness in our communities. Animal shelters and rescues play an important role in every community because they provide a temporary safe place for animals in need to reside.

That’s why most modern shelters often establish collaborative partnerships in which resources are shared, and the differences in operating models are applied in a complementary fashion in order to maximize the number of pets being saved.

One basic misconception regarding shelters is that a cat or a dog has a long length of stay rate in shelters. That may have been true more than 25 years ago, but for the last 10 years, all shelters, whether they are open or limited (no kill) shelters, have changed direction on how to lower the number of animals.

Most modern shelters now emphasize having a higher adoption rate / quicker return to pet owners, foster programs, spay and neuter programs, pet behavior education, vaccine and health well-being help for pet owners. Most modern shelters also implement TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return/Release/Relocate) which refers to an approach for managing community (stray/feral) cats that is an alternative to shelter impoundment.

This direction has had positive results and has significantly lowered the length of stay in most shelters to 11 and 47 days, with the exception of very few staying longer due to being an unpopular breed, age and health issues.

The animal shelter levy on the June ballot is for establishing the needed funds for constructing and operating a shelter facility in Jefferson County. If passed, the Commission will open it up for proposals (bids) from all interested nonprofits. The commission will then award the nonprofit that has put forward the best proposal. Each nonprofit that submits a proposal will put forward its own estimated shelter budget and plan. Voters need to understand that any entity is able to submit a proposal, not just the AS&CC. Regardless which nonprofit entity receives the contract, Jefferson County has a need to establish and operate an animal shelter. Research shows that by contracting with a nonprofit to fulfill this service is a more cost effective choice for taxpayers.

Under a contract with the government, all shelter paid employees are paid by the nonprofit and are able to keep costs down with unpaid volunteers. These shelters have many of the other advantages of nonprofit operations (e.g., ability to fundraise, receive donations and to establish their own mission), but they also have accountability to the public because of their contractual obligations.  Therefore, while complaints and concerns about these facilities are still addressed by the Board of Directors, elected officials with whom they have a contract with may also have some influence over their operations. The Animal Shelter and Care Committee — Vickie Cordero, Barb Reiter, Salina Barker, Cheryl Haasakker and Tammy Murray

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