Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can you hear us now?

Two years ago, the last contractor for kennel care had had enough.  County animal care has been contracted out for several decades, twice to organizations with professional private practice licensed Veterinarians in management roles.  In July 2009, the County was about to open a brand new, highly-touted impound facility, known as the Animal Services Facility.  The head of animal control wanted to be in more COMPLETE control.

Citizens and animal welfare groups, it turns out, were right to be worried that the fox might be guarding the hen house once Rodney Taylor took full charge.  While the County promised to operate the new facility on the same budget it got to run the old, very dilapidated Forestville building, it also promised to increase staff.  What was unspoken, is that the increases in staff would be through contracting-out. 

Contracting makes sense in some circumstances.  For short-term projects, for efforts that require special skills but only for a particular project, for cases where there isn't any reason to develop a workforce.  But contracting out kennel work has led to an environment where every worker can be replaced at whim, and where no one cares any more than the leaders care about animals and their welfare.  And when the leaders only care about counting citations, well, it is a very bad day for compassionate workers, as well as for animals.

If Taylor did in fact increase staff, it is hard to tell it from here.  He continues to complain of being short-staffed at any criticism, and the metrics of the County's animal care and control work are still carbon copies of those from long before the opening of the new facility.

It cannot be surprising the Sam Wynkoop, the Director of the Department of Environmental Resources, resuming his old role as Taylor's boss, that the County pales in comparison to many places today, including where animal issues are concerned. 

If it IS a surprise, the County bureaucrats are in for a shock when they read the comments and see the signatures on this online petition.  Let's hope that someone understands that changing the reputation of the County includes changing its reputation with rescues and adopters across the entire metro region!

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