Sunday, January 21, 2018

Compliance Data Missing for PAWS Renewal

San Angelo City Council will entertain renewal of the animal shelter adoption contract with Concho Valley PAWS.  Staff summarized the arrangement for Council:

Last year, the City of San Angelo sought a public-private partnership to share the workload of combating San Angelo's pet overpopulation epidemic. Assigning animal adoptions to an animal welfare organization frees up city staff and tax dollars to address our core function (preventing the spread of disease from animals to humans) and creates efficiencies by capitalizing on the welfare organization's core function (animal adoptions).
Unfortunately the PAWS arrangement started a new problem that contributes to the pet overpopulation epidemic.  The public-private partnership shifted responsibility for taking the shelter pet for spay/neuter surgery from city staff to the adopting citizen.  This practice resulted in 688 dogs leaving the shelter unaltered from April 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017.  That change is institutionalized in the City's RFP for adoption support.

At least two local veterinarians experienced high no-show rates for spay/neuter surgery.  City ordinance, mandates pets be micro-chipped and spayed/neutered.  One vet stated his clinic had 17 to 20 missed spay/neuter surgery appointments per month from June to December 2017.  Another veterinarian with a practice south of San Angelo stopped performing spay/neuter surgery for Animal Shelter pets due to an even higher no-show rate.  Between the two providers at least 100 pets missed spay/neuter appointments over a six month period.

City Council will entertain contract renewal without examining data on PAWS compliance with city ordinance and state law.  Texas law requires adopted pets to have a rabies vaccination.

Administration of the rabies vaccine changed from the 2016 RFP to the 2018 version.  In 2016 the City of San Angelo specified:

Ensuring rabies vaccination is given to animals prior to leaving the facility.
The city should have data on rabies vaccinations for animal shelter adoptions if the contractor met this performance specification. The 2018 RFP lessened this requirement:

Ensuring rabies vaccination is given to animals upon adoption
The two veterinary practices indicated they were giving rabies shots and performing spay/neuter surgeries for Animal Shelter pets in the same appointment.  Missed appointments mean the pet was not altered, as required by city ordinance, nor was it vaccinated, as required by state law. 

PAWS made a number of other commitments in its deal with the city.  It promised to provide two full time people for adoption support.  There is no information from city staff for council on PAWS compliance with this promise.

The only major change to this request for proposal is the proposal term. The prior contract of 12 months is not conducive to building a relationship of this importance.
It is odd for city staff to ignore serious performance failures while pushing City Council for a long term arrangement.  PAWS received scores of 93, 94 and 96 out of 100 on its RFP submission from the selection committee. 

Information on unaltered pets is pertinent to any PAWS contract renewal and has been shared with the Mayor and at least two City Council representatives.  Council is the accountable body as the PAWS proposal did not go before the Animal Services Advisory Committee.

For the last year the public-private partnership with PAWS contributed to the city's overpopulation problem by shifting transportation responsibility for spay/neuter surgery to the adopting citizen.  As a result of changed practices at least 100 pets left the shelter during the last half of 2017 and missed their surgery appointment.  How many of those remain unaltered and not vaccinated?

The City of San Angelo has a penalty for noncompliance with its mandatory spay/neuter ordinance:

All unaltered dogs and cats over four (4) months of age kept, harbored, or maintained within the City limits of San Angelo must be spayed/neutered or their owner shall obtain a breeder’s permit under this Chapter.
Unless otherwise specified herein, any person, firm, corporation or association convicted of violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined in accordance with the general penalty provision found in section 1.01.009 of this code. 
The animal services director shall be responsible for the enforcement of all of the provisions of this chapter.  

Should the city should fine itself and contractor PAWS for grossly violating its ordinance?


Video of 1-17-17 City Council approved initial PAWS adoption contract

Video of 1-23-18 City Council approved multi-year PAWS adoption contract

Update 1-27-18:  The City encouraged pet owners to stay current on rabies shots as a rabid skunk entered a home in PaulAnn.

Update 2-10-18:  Shelter Director Morgan Chegwidden said all shelter pets are spayed/neutered in the morning news show Coffee Talk.  The same person has been unable to produce documentation from a "trusted process that ensures all shelter pets are spayed/neutered."  The reconciliation is done digitally and therefore no documents exist.  Yes, that was the city's actual answer.

Update 10-17-19:  City staff plan to expand its shelter contract with PAWS in both size and scope. I asked that the RFP and/or contract have a provision compelling the vendor to produce information requested by the city, which would include public information requests.  Compliance with city ordinance (spay/neuter and micro-chipping) and state law (rabies) information remains missing as the city prepares to enter into its third contract with PAWS.

Update 11-13-19:   Adopted pets continue leaving the shelter unaltered and many have ended up at area rescues when owners can no longer keep their new pet.  The Shelter will not take them back due to managed intake rules and limited/capacity.  Today, PAWS Director Jenie Wilson said "San Angelo still has a population crisis coupled with a population of irresponsible pet owners which makes it a constant struggle for the shelter and PAWS to prevent euthanasia for space.”

Update 11-8-21:  The ASAC agenda for October 2021 had a compliance report from Concho Valley PAWS on its spay/neuter compliance with city ordinances.   This is the first such report since the city engaged PAWS as its adoption contractor in early 2017.  Despite the City and PAWS having over half of ASAC membership they were not able to achieve a quorum in October.  

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