City Must Update FAAS Contract

 

When Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) assumed responsibility from the City Alameda for the Alameda Animal Shelter in 2011, it was a well-run but fairly typical municipal shelter. The emphasis was on protecting the community by taking stray animals off the streets. Those that weren’t adopted were euthanized as space in the aging facility became limited. Only about 75 percent of the animals who entered the shelter left it alive. 

Even at that modest level of operation, the city was spending in excess of $900,000 to operate the shelter, largely because it was managed by the Alameda Police Department which was paying salaries for sworn officer management as well as civilian employees. 

When the city found itself unable to maintain the cost of operating the shelter even at that modest level, it proposed outsourcing to another municipal animal shelter where the euthanasia rate hovered around 50 percent. FAAS, then a small organization formed to supplement services provided by the city, offered to run the shelter as part of a public-private partnership.  

FAAS has worked to bring the shelter closer to industry standards with an increased focus animal welfare. A priority on adoption and reuniting lost pets with their families sends more than 94 percent of the animals to homes or rescue groups. All incoming animals now receive vaccinations and flea treatment as well as medical and behavioral rehabilitation for those that need it. As shown in recent events in neighboring communities, behavioral assessments are a key component of public safety. 

In addition to FAAS’ contracted services with the city, FAAS operates a Pet Food Pantry for low-income families and a Humane Education Program to educate school children on responsible pet ownership and bite prevention. Private donations have been made to pay for dog training for all adopters.  

And there’s more we want to do, such as test all incoming cats for feline viruses, provide adoption counseling for all individuals and families adopting pets and enhance our volunteer program to expand our capacity to care for animals and conserve limited resources. 

In order to maintain current industry standards and meet the contractual obligations set forth by the present city agreement, FAAS is requesting an updated contract.  

We believe the residents of Alameda agree with Mahatma Gandhi’s observation that “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

The City Council will be discussing this matter next Tuesday, Oct. 4, and we encourage residents to come out and speak on behalf of our animals.  

 

 

Allan Mann lives in Alameda.