Council Set to Vote on FAAS Contract

 

As I penned this letter for publication,  the City Council was set to vote at its Tuesday, June 6, meeting on a proposed two-year service agreement with the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) to provide animal care services for the residents of Alameda. The proposed Animal Services Agreement will increase funding from the City to FAAS to approximately $804,000, or 58 percent of FAAS’s annual operating budget.

While it has been a long negotiation process, all of us at FAAS are excited about the future and the renewed partnership with the City of Alameda. We believe that a progressive community like Alameda deserves a vibrant shelter to care for the abandoned, lost and homeless animals who depend on the kindness of people. 

We believe that all our pets deserve to be treated humanely and with respect and, at FAAS, we never let time or space dictate a shelter pet’s future. Our goal is to find forever homes for more than 1,000 animals that come through our doors each year and, in the process, enrich the lives of the people who have opened their hearts to shelter pets.

FAAS thanks the City Council and staff for their ongoing commitment to the residents of Alameda and for supporting the FAAS mission to “shelter and care for abandoned companion animals, find them new homes and prevent animal cruelty through education and community programs.” Working in partnership, we will continue to ensure that Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter maintains its exceptional standard of service and care.

Running the Alameda Animal Shelter is a true labor of love for the staff and volunteers of FAAS. We are a public, open-intake shelter and we see both the best and the worst of humanity. Our hearts break when people are forced to surrender their beloved pets because of a crisis in their own lives. We are also grateful to be there and reassure them that our main goal is to find their pet a new, loving home. We also see animals who have been severely neglected and, as we strive to help them heal or, if necessary, pass in peace, we double down on our commitment to educate the broader community on responsible pet ownership.

Our volunteers and staff work long hours. While we do our best to make all our customers happy, we also realize that a public service organization that operates in such an emotionally charged arena will sometimes face criticism.

A recent letter to the editor of the Alameda Sun, was sent simultaneously as an email to me. It took FAAS to task for the writer’s experience while visiting our shelter. What wasn’t made clear was how quickly FAAS responded. 

Within 36 hours of receiving the initial email, we were able to resolve the situation; like most issues, it revolved around miscommunication and ultimately provided an opportunity for FAAS to tighten internal controls. Most rewarding, the woman who wrote the letter ended up adopting the cat in question. As of this writing, everyone is adapting beautifully. For all of us at FAAS, it is the true definition of a happy ending. 

Our volunteers and donors are the heroes who make our work possible. With a new contract in place, our supporters will be more important than ever. In the new fiscal year starting July 1, FAAS will need to raise approximately $600,000 of additional cash and in-kind support to achieve our mission and maintain our standards of excellence. 

Volunteers, working in partnership with our professional staff, will be more important than ever in helping us achieve our mission. More information on volunteering and donor opportunities can be found on our website at www.alamedaanimalshelter.org.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who stood with us over this past year, who took the time to write letters and speak out, and to the hard-working City staff and elected officials who worked so diligently with us to draft an agreement that best serves both the City’s and FAAS’s long-term objectives. On behalf of all our furry friends, and the people who love them unconditionally, we thank the City Council and staff for their belief in FAAS and their commitment to our mission of compassion and hope. The great work continues.

 

 

John L. Lipp serves as the Acting Director of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS)