Yesterday afternoon, the city council of Kansas City, MO unanimously approved a new organization called the Kansas City Pet Project to run the shelter operations for the city.
The decision has been a long time in coming -- and will be very good for the animals at the KCMO shelter.
Four years ago, the City approved a plan to privatize the management of the city animal shelter. At the time, there were only two bidders -- both veterinarians and neither really, truly, rescue organizations. The city chose one of the vendors, Veterinary Management Corp. The early results were very positive from a life-saving perspective -- with a 150% increase in adoptions and a 35% decrease in euthanasia in the first year. However, after 2 years under VMC, the city ended up terminating the contract in April of this year after allegations of neglect at the shelter.
In May, the city issued an RFP fro new shelter management. After a variety of extensions, and delays, the city staff entered into an agreement with the KC Pet Project. However, even though the Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee approved the bid, financing was still an issue. However, after several weeks of discussion in the Finance Committee, the Finance Committee finally approved the bid on Wednesday. The next day, yesterday, the full city council unanimously approved the bid.
Now, a bit about the KC Pet Project.
The KC Pet Project is a group that is made up of three board members, one of whom is yours truly. I've partnered with Michelle Davis -- who has been the President of our Kansas City Dog Advocates group and has a great background in successful animal welfare policies (including attending all three No Kill Conferences, and Heather Clenin -- who is a no kill advocate (and attended the 2010 No Kill Conference) and a long-time volunteer at the city shelter. We've hired Kim Staton as our Executive Director. Kim has 25 years of shelter management experience and knows how to efficiently run a shelter and has a lot of great ideas of her own about how to increase life-saving at the shelter.
We have a tough road ahead of us. We're all committed to creating our own No Kill success story.
This project has been many years in the making -- and as usually, took a large number of advocates to make it happen. It took a lot of public support to get the initial privatization approved. It took the hard work of countless volunteers who have been helping create the positive results we've seen in the past couple of years at the shelter, it's taken politicians willing to listen when advocates said "we can still do better", an active rescue community that got hundreds of animals out of the shelter alive in the interim and even more support to push for us to get the opportunity to run the shelter. It will take the same work, collaboration and dedication to get us to the next level. But thanks to everyone who has helped drive for these improvements (both over the last several years and in the future).
I have more to say about the situation, the process and the plan that I'll hold for the coming weeks. But it's a good day here in Kansas City.