Tulare County Animal Services gives supes a progress update

Although the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency’s Animal Services division has been serving the county since 2001, its representatives focused on its improvements over the past few years in their report to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. Their presentation also included the 2016-2017 report of the Animal Services Advisory Committee.

Nilsa Gonzalez, Health and Human Services Agency representative, showed photos of the 2015-2016 facility remodel with the improved kennel area, isolation/quarantine area and auxiliary and shelter operations support equipment. “Blue kennels are available for foster or adopted animals, green kennels are for animals under assessment, and red is for sick or aggressive animals,” she said, adding that the offices at the facility were remodeled last year.

“In 2016, we started our rebranding initiative, demonstrating a new face to the community,” she continued. This signaled a new focus for Animal Services and included an enhanced web presence, she added.

“We implemented ‘Call Priority’ in December 2015,” said Animal Services Manager Patrick Hamblin. “Average response times were 43 hours in 2015, one hour in 2016, and 15 minutes in 2017.”

The number of pet rescues, adoptions and pets returned to owners improved from 1,437 in 2013 to 3,611 in 2016, he said, before noting that Animal Services increased its focus on spaying and neutering, and rabies and license compliance.

Hamblin reported that Animal Services added a registered veterinary technician to perform public vaccinations and basic procedures. A $35,000 grant from Petco enabled Animal Services to offer low-cost vaccinations and reduced cost adoption fees.

“We’re beginning to implement shelter management software,” he said about the new Chameleon software. “We’re providing onsite training and fully utilizing iPhones and iPads. We plan to purchase the software in the near future, he added, “to improve customer care and reduce operating costs.”

Gonzalez then showed supervisors a graphic with the previous and updated fees charged for such services as boarding, spay and neutering, vaccinations and licenses, comparing them to the fees charged by Visalia, Tulare, Kings County and Kern County.

“As you can see, we’re pretty reasonable,” she said.

The Animal Services Advisory Committee Report included an “exploration of fundraising opportunities and funding sources,” suggesting a partnership with Friends of Tulare County, the formation of a non-profit organization, and grant opportunities. It also listed education and outreach, spay and neuter efforts, and cats in the community as areas for future attention. Supervisors voted 5-0 to accept the report.

Tulare County Animal Services is located at 14131 Avenue 256, south of Visalia. For more information, call (559) 636-4050, email [email protected] or visit tcanimalservices.org.

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