I've been out of town, and jammed at work - -so posting has been non-existent of late. I'm getting back on track though -- and want to start off with the latest and greatest at the KCMO shelter.
1) The shelter is back open for adoptions -- a few weeks ago, the city relocated all of the animals at the shelter to Hale Arena while they did a thorough cleaning of the entire shelter. The animals were moved back to the shelter, and the shelter is now open for business. The shelter hours are pretty minimal and are from 12-6 pm on Monday - Thursday, 12-4 pm Friday and Saturday and closed on Sunday. I know the folks at the shelter are badly in need of volunteers to help with potential adopters, getting petfinder profiles updated and getting dogs walked -- so if you can help, please, please, please donate your time.
2) The Pet Connection -- a good no kill rescue fascility in Mission, has opened up a fairly large section of their space for many of the urgent dogs from the KCMO Shelter. They too badly need help for volunteers to help out with these dogs -- so again, thanks to them for providing the space -- but also, help is needed in that location too. If you are interested in helping here -- please contact me -- and I will get you in contact with the volunteer who is organizing volunteers (or, I know she reads here -- if she wants to post her contact info in the comments, that's fine too).
3) The RFP for the new shelter contract is now available. There are a lot of good questions on the RFP -- including questions about how the new shelter director will manage transfers to other rescue groups, how foster homes will be handled, how adoptions will be handled, how volunteers will be managed, how they will go about promoting spay/neuters, getting dogs returned to owners, deal with aggressive animals, owner surrenders, etc. There are also some good questions on helping deal with cases of minor neglect thatI think are interesting because our animal control has typically dealt with these cases through confiscation and may now be looking for solutions that involve keeping the animal in its home, but helping the owners to better care for the animals.
I'm very hopeful that the city will really take to heart these answers and not make this a solution about the lowest cost providers. The answers to these questions will make the difference for literally thousands of animal lives in our community in the coming years -- and they're too important to just have on the RFP as window-dressing.
The RFP process is going to move fairly quickly in the short run:
6/8 -Shelter walk-through for interested parties
6/16 - deadline for question submissions
7/7 -- Due date for proposals
7/20 -- Notification of Short-listed providers
7/25 - Interviews (if necessary)
7/27 - Selection made
August is set aside for negotiations, contract signing and ordinance proposal/acceptance of recommended provider, with the new organizations slated to take over in September.
4) Separate from the RFP - the city also appears to be giving serious consideration to building a new animal shelter. City Councilman John Sharp, along with former council member Teresa Lohr are leading the charge to put a measure on the ballot for a tax increase to raise $10 million build a new shelter. The city's current shelter was built in 1973 -- and was basically created as a catch and kill facility. The shelter is very small for a city this size, has horrible ventilation and no isolation area that make animals very succeptible to diseases, is in a remote location that is very difficult for potential adopters or people with lost pets to get to. Potential adopters also get the pleasure of having the crematorium attached to the shelter that is often running when people are at the shelter.
City Manager Troy Schulte acknowledges that the shelter was never designe for modern day animal care needs. And Schulte notes that for every 1 person sho says we shouldn't spend the money he would expect 1,000 emails saying that the city isn't being nearly compassionate enough about the care of animals.
It sounds like there is a very real possibility for the tax to appear on the ballot in November -- or possibly spring of 2012. There is also a chance that it would be grouped with other tax needs -- such as a tax needed to repair our crumbling sewer system. It is still disappointing that the new shelter was removed from last year's public safety tax proposal even though it was considered in the early stages.
There seems to be quite a bit of support for the new shelter -- with most rational people recognizing the need for a new facility. The combination of a new facility, and competent management, could set Kansas City up for success as a no kill community.
5) Separate from the KCMO shelter news, Jackson County, MO has signed off on $5 million to build a new animal shelter serving the non-Kansas City areas of the county. The shelter will be built on 23rd street -- 2 miles East of 291 Highway near Metropolitan Community College - Blue River in Independence. The shelter will replace the 30 year old shelter that is currently being used and will have enough space to house 125 cats and more than 100 dogs. County Legislator Denny Waits has been leading this effort in Jackson County for several years and it will be great to see it come to fruition.
We need a lot of short term help out there folks...but things are certainly looking up if we can make good decisions along the way.