Written by Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Animal Services.
We have begun the new fiscal year much as we ended the prior one, with monthly Save Rates above 80%. Intakes are down from historic levels as a result of our commitment to pre-surrender counseling and returning identified pets directly to their homes without requiring a stop at the shelter. Adoptions are high due in part to the series of grant-funded adoption events held during the summer and continuing into the fall.
More than half of the $45,000 awarded to us from the Petco Foundation has been used toward fee-waived adoption events. The six events held since June 18, 2016 have resulted in a total of 190 adoptions. These events draw hundreds of visitors to the shelter, which can result in long lines and slower service. I genuinely appreciate the patience demonstrated by our clients and all of the hard work on the part of staff and volunteers during these stressful and chaotic events. The satisfaction of seeing animals leave with their new families and the resulting empty cages makes it all worthwhile. We are planning additional events throughout the fall and winter to ensure that we keep the shelter below capacity.
We have also continued working on the spay-neuter project supported by the $25,000 grant from Best Friends Animal Society awarded to our partners at Verona Street Animal Society. To date, that grant has enabled us to provide 320 low-cost and no-cost spay or neuter surgeries for owned pets and 115 spay or neuters for community cats. The remaining balance will be used primarily for providing more no-cost surgeries through our community outreach efforts.
Effective July 1, 2016, we implemented new hours for our field services operations. Animal Control Officers (ACOs) are now on duty 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. instead of the prior hours of 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. This consolidation of shifts has enabled us to have more ACOs on duty during the busiest hours while also facilitating our proactive license compliance and community outreach efforts.
We have started door-to-door outreach in a few neighborhoods and the feedback has been positive. Although initially curious about our unexpected presence, residents have been welcoming and receptive to our efforts and the information that we have shared. We will continue to visit those and other neighborhoods as we work proactively to prevent pet relinquishment, unwanted litters, and incidents for which pets might otherwise be seized and to help pet owners make healthy choices for their companions.
Thanks for all of the community support as we work with our citizens and partner organizations to help people and animals. Together we are making a difference.
P.S. Remember to spay and neuter your pets and keep your dog licensed.