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« Targeting the wrong people, defining "success", and a lack of public information -- Case Study: Omaha | Main | Update on KCMO's new "performance standards" »

August 05, 2009


Nathan Winograd

In San Francisco, we had a staff bonus structure based on increases in lifesaving measurements: save rate, adoptions, spay/neuters, etc. It was also based on return rates, etc. to make sure our standards weren't being compromised.

We also incentivized the public: we paid pit bull owners $20 if they allowed us to spay or neuter their dogs for free, we provided lifetime free veterinary care for the pets of homeless people if they allowed us to spay or neuter their dogs for free, we paid people $5 if they allowed us to spay or neuter their cats for free. Before anyone says our community cannot afford that, we did an analysis and found that we could probably pay as much as $50 and still save money from reduced impounds (it was cheaper than taking in the offspring of those animals), but frankly we were afraid people would steal other people's pets. So we settled on the incentives above.


this is one of the most bizarre programs i've ever heard of, honestly. in fact, before i read this, we were joking yesterday about "working on commission" - we took in so many animals over the counter that it felt like we were doing this. this is NOT the goal of animal services!

it sounds like kansas city already has some awesome programs- free dog houses and low cost s/n. why not work big picture instead of impounding animals- that's not good for anyone. it's high cost for the city, if they want to look at it that way, and we know it's high cost for the animals and families involved. preventing impounding animals is my approach- education and outreach- followups, etc. we've started to impound animals (if you can call it that) long enough to spay/neuter at whatever cost the owner can afford. they bring the dog the day before and pick it up after surgery. we offer it at cost, and they pay that and license fee. this helps people get it done, and in the meantime, we've had them fix their fence or whatever else is the issue.

wow. i just... this is a new one.

Social Mange

They're setting quota for living animals? That's just going to incent false seizures. Whoever thought up this KC program is whacked. Or completely incapable of determining which ACO is competent and which is not. Management failure written all over the bodies of dead animals.

Social Mange

If KC management wants to monitor their ACOs, management should GET OUT of their offices and GET IN the trucks with the ACOs. Ride with them for a week.

Alice Harringtion

Wow, this takes "out of control animal control" to a whole new level. Does it matter what species? Do you get more credit for a big dog than a little one? Do they also have a kill quota employees have to meet? What happens when they run out of animals? I can see it now though - when it comes time to hand out the incentive pay it will be deferred because there won't be any money. They will have spent it all on housing and killing the animals. I hope you all are screaming to your local elected officials about this idiocy. Why do we put people in charge of animal control that hate animals and people???


So if officers can't meet their quotas, then what happens? This is ridiculous. I agree, if management wants to see what's happening out there, they should BE out there. If impound numbers are going down, couldn't that be a GOOD sign that people are being more responsible, rather than that the ACOs aren't doing their jobs?

Tom K

If they have to meet a quota, the same lazy bullies who usually park their trucks in the shade and sleep or work second jobs on the sly will be snatching people's dogs out of their yards to make quota, then taking naps and moonlighting. That's not an improvement.


I have a friend who used to work for a county AC. The AC Director at the time instituted a quota policy.

So she tells me that they would drive 50 miles to the county's largest Indian reservation, let the first resident they saw know they were there and just wait until enough people brought unwanted pets to the truck, load up and go back and be done for the day.

She asserts that there was essentially no one checking on welfare, cruelty complaints, strays and at large or injured/killed animals. They could not make quota if they did.

Things are a hell of a lot better here now, but good lord, ANY time you dictate arbitrary rates of impoundment and seizure, the animals and people are going to pay a steep price.


In other words, they're planning to punish their employees if there is a reduction in cruelty cases or reasons to impound animals in their community.

What nutjob thought that would be a good idea?!

Maryland Dog Federation

The whole purpose of animal control SHOULD be to educate the public and keep pets in homes, not seize animals needlessly or promote wholesale government-sanctioned animal cruelty. What a costly drain on precious human and fiscal resources! This will have the most deleterious effect on lower-income pet owners, who may not have the funds to bail their pets out. Those pets will wind up a burden on the city, didn't need to be and, sadly, will probably wind up dead. Yes, some will be able to pay the fines, but I would like to see the fiscal impact study. I would rather see them giving out coupons for spays and neuters than bringing animals into the shelter needlessly. It costs far, far more to impound animals than it does to keep pets in homes while educating, and thereby creating better, pet owners. Do they expect to turn a profit with the expense minus the revenue? They will be sadly disappointed. I hope, when the taxpayers see how much this costs versus the return, they will scuttle this bad idea. Again, this approach is mean-spirited, myopic and counter-intuitive for any shelter or public safety professional worth their salt. Is it the elected officials that need educating, or is it the animal control department itself?

Tammy Zaluzney

While successful shelters are trying to lower intake by enacting creative solutions and providing life saving tools and resources for pet owners, these folks are instituting draconian policy that will be costly on every front, time, resources and lives. Where the greatest efforts have been made and successes acheived a compassionate commuity has been a significant part of the solution. This type of incentive program will certainly garner no good will from the community. This is a very bad idea.

KC KS Kills Dogs

I just hope that other cities in the area don't think this is a good idea and copycat these same draconian policies for their cities.

It is very obvious that city management is not involved in the field and has not taken the opportunity to go out with the inner city dog groups to see what the heck the real issues are.

Good job Brent and Michelle for getting this info out to the public!

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