Last week, Facebook was covered in requests to contact our Columbus councilors about proposed fee increases in Animal Control’s budget. While the information about the fee increases was not correct, there are concerns about the budget as proposed to council that needs to be given attention.
Columbus Animal Care and Control (CACC) has come a long way in the last five years, going from killing over 80% of the impounded animals to having saved over 85% the first quarter of this year! Yet the city’s budget restraints are threatening our progress. Two items that were included in the director’s budget request were for money to be able to vaccinate every animal on intake and a position that would oversee a foster program. The funding for these programs was not included in the Mayor’s budget presented to council yet would go a long way in supporting our efforts and improving public health concerns.
Vaccination of every animal on intake is important on many different levels. Disease control is a crucial function of animal control and by vaccinating on intake the risk to the dozens of animals coming into the facility each week is reduced. Additionally, if a pet is not reclaimed by their owner, and a rescue steps up to take care of the animal, the quarantine period for the rescue is shortened since it began on intake. This allows them to have animals available for adoption sooner. Less time holding animals for quarantine frees up space at the rescue so they can pull more from animal control. In cases when an owner reclaims their pet that was vaccinated on intake, we know the animal going out to live in the community is protected from disease, reducing the spread of costly and sometimes deadly conditions.
An official foster program has been talked about for many years. The limited amount of kennels at CACC would be expanded by using fosters to take adoptable pets into their home. The fosters then are able to observe their behavior, provide some basic training, and take them out in the community (including adoption events) to increase their exposure. More exposure increases the chances of finding homes of their own. The oversight for this type of program required by the state is not possible by the current over-worked staff. A part-time position will be needed for this vital step.
So we ask that you let those involved in the budget process know that you are proud to live in a city where the citizens have come together and spent hundreds of countless hours helping us become this close to being a no-kill community. They must recognize these efforts and support us by providing these needed funds. We must not go back to the time when Columbus was killing over 80% of the impounded animals. We appreciate all CACC has done to work with the community to get our live release rate where it is, but at some point the city has to step up and show their support for this department in the budget.
Listed below is the contact information for your elected officials involved in the budget. In your communications, please be respectful and positive. If you are uncertain what to say, just keep it simple. Something like – “Living in a no-kill community is important to me. Please support CACC’s needs in the coming year”. Just let them know you care and want your tax dollars helping. Do not allow the current proposed budget, which has a significant reduction in funding, to pass without a fight.