One thing I’ve learned in life is that actions speak much louder than words. For example:
For 2019 through 2021, the actual expenditures vs budget (something most businesses would examine) for Columbus Animal Care and Control speaks volumes.
A total of $3,671,745 was budgeted yet only $3,217,861.92 was spent, $453,884 left on the table. This is a banner accomplishment for businesses who are looking for profit. Yet we are talking about Columbus Animal Care and Control. Here when money is “saved”, lives are impacted and more will be spent in the long run.
Over the same three years, the city spent a total of $74,069.29 in veterinarian services, for 12,917 impounded animals, less than $5.73 per animal. The city says they vaccinate all animals on intake (a step which helps reduce disease and saves more serious medical costs in the near future), yet we know the lack of adequate staffing has not allowed this protocol to be followed consistently. After vaccinations, there is little to nothing left for parasite treatment, antibiotics, or pain management during the required stray hold. And for those that stay behind those five days of stray hold, there are just prayers.
Prison inmates provided cleaning labor for years until changes in state protocols reduced their availability and then covid took that away. Yet there have been no additions to the city’s payroll for animal control to fill the gap. Just too few employees with added responsibilities on their job description.
This while the city proudly promotes Columbus as a No-Kill Community.
During this time, the city’s adoption rate dropped 55%. Return to owners saw a drop of 14% and it’s even lower through July of this year. Rescues offset these losses with an almost 20% increase in the number of animals they saved.
So who is responsible for the city not killing for space? How much medical care for the impounded (much less injured) does the city plan for? What community outreach has the city provided to promote responsible pet ownership? What has the city done to promote spay/neuter opportunities?
The city's actions have shown there is no interest in going beyond meeting minimum standards. My involvement with the privatization efforts showed me the city budget barely meets recommended shelter staffing, much less for things like power, water, supplies and animal care. First they don’t budget enough. Then they don’t even spend that.
I knew we were going backwards. I just didn’t realize how much we have enabled the city to remain operating at status quo while bragging about what the community does for our animals. Instead of striving for a progressive shelter, their actions shout out POUND.