LAS VEGAS – The Animal Foundation, which recently faced a critical space crisis, is now requesting over half a million dollars in new annual funding from Clark County commissioners to tackle its operational difficulties. The proposal, known as ‘The Animal Foundation Community Support Plan,’ is in response to concerns raised by commissioners about long wait times for intake appointments and insufficient capacity. Previously, individuals had to wait for over a month to drop off stray or unwanted dogs.
The adoption of an online-based, self-service appointment system during the summer exacerbated the situation, resulting from staffing shortages and a surge in intakes following the pandemic. Animal Foundation CEO Hilarie Grey acknowledged that the system lacked the effectiveness of direct communication with individuals. To address these issues, the new plan includes establishing a call center and hiring additional staff to manage it. The call center will follow a model similar to the one in Pima County, Arizona, where live operators assist callers and direct them to the necessary resources.
Grey highlighted the success of Pima County’s call center, stating that 82 percent of calls regarding owner-surrendered pets were mitigated, allowing the animals to remain at home and freeing up shelter space. Currently, The Animal Foundation receives approximately $2.5 million per year in funding from Clark County. The proposed plan, which will be discussed during the board meeting, seeks $585,000 in new funding, allocated as follows:
– $300,000 annually for call center staffing
– $235,000 annually for additional Animal Foundation staffing
– $50,000 annually for rescue partner veterinary services (shared among jurisdictions)
The plan also includes a one-time capital investment of $20,000 to enhance office spaces and improve IT equipment for the call center. Commissioner Tick Segerblom expressed his dissatisfaction with the foundation’s current operations, emphasizing the need for a new approach. He believes that allocating a couple hundred thousand dollars to make the system more effective is a worthwhile investment.
The proposed funding would require participation from the foundation’s other jurisdictions, including the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, to gain approval. Local rescues, such as Nevada SPCA, echoed the sentiment, stating that they too are facing capacity challenges due to inflation and the pandemic. Unlike The Animal Foundation, they do not receive government funding, relying on personal contributions to support their operations.
The Animal Foundation Community Support Plan is scheduled to be presented during the upcoming Clark County Board of Commissioners meeting, commencing at 9:00 am.
Credits: 8 News Now
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