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Blogs / ICMA | blog / #localgov Innovations in Animal Services

#localgov Innovations in Animal Services

Of the long list of duties for local government managers, one sometimes unexpected task is that of managing local animal services.  These can range from overseeing the pet registration process to managing animal control services. 

Many people have a soft spot in their heart for animals and management of animal services. And many of us have a story. I recall a time when my yellow lab, Jenna, ran off, and the county-managed animal shelter located and returned her.  Animal service initiatives (like an animal shelter) can increase public support and volunteers in your communities.  The Knowledge Network has lots of examples of other communities’ initiatives to help advance animal services.

Here are some of my favorites:          

A local park in Gilbert, Arizona, is using dog waste to light the area, thanks to a team of engineering and technology students from Arizona State University.

These two documents from Sharon Lawrence describe some win-win strategies for communities managing animal services.  The first document outlines initiatives of a local government to effectively and efficiently manage homeless animals.  The second document is a collection from different communities of innovations in animal service management.

Washoe County Regional Animal Service (WCRAS) has lowered costs and increased public service/support of animal services.  This case study outlines exactly how they have accomplished this.

This professional fellow from the exchange program writes about how this community tackles the issues in animal shelters.

This article is about how the County of Manatee, Florida, is trying to reach a goal of 90% save rate in this innovative animal service program.

Milton, Georgia, has developed a comprehensive large animal rescue team. This is the first one of its kind in Georgia.   This rescue team would take action when large animals are in danger.

ICMA in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States developed this municipal guide on managing community cats.  

Learn how, in this webinar, San Antonio, Texas, reformed its antiquated Animal Care Services Department in nine months to increase its adoption rate by nearly 30 percent.

What are some successful animal service innovation(s) in your community? Do you plan on implementing any of the ideas offered in these resources? Please post comments below.

Douglas Shontz

Knowledge Network Intern


Sharon Lawrence

I've prepared an exhaustive set of issue briefs highlighting best practices in animal services. All are posted here on the Knowledge Network. Look for:

1.) Win – Win Strategies for Communities in Managing Homeless Cats;
2.) Win-Win Strategies for Communities in Managing Animal Services; and
3.) Public – Private Partnerships for Pets: 180 Day Action Plan (to get your jurisdiction to No Kill status).

These reflect my experiences in rescue plus my extensive work in government (e.g., former staffer for NACo, NCSL, NATaT, and US ACIR among other organizations.)

Douglas Shontz

Douglas Shontz

Thank you for the great content and for sharing you experiences.

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