Friday, December 13, 2019

PAWS to Get Animal Services Equipment from City

On 12-17-19 City Council will entertain staff's recommendation to donate Animal Shelter equipment to Concho Valley PAWS.  The equipment is an adoption trailer and veterinary surgical equipment for conducting spay/neuter surgeries.  The item is on the consent agenda which means it can be acted upon with no discussion for the public to hear.  Citizens should hear the reason staff chose PAWS over other area nonprofit animal service organizations, some of whom provide low cost spay/neuter clinics for the public.

Staff omitted two important considerations in their recommendation in the background packet.  The first is how PAWS has performed under their agreement with the city to provide spay/neuter surgeries at the Animal Shelter.  Council approved this arrangement on 2-20-18.  PAWS performed 87 spay/neuter surgeries over a three month period from May to July 2018.  That level of performance should be concerning to staff and City Council.  PAWS veterinarian was supposed to have been utilizing the surgical equipment for spay/neuter surgeries, not letting it sit unused. 

The second consideration that Council should be aware of is a draft RFP for expanded adoption/veterinary services was presented to the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee in their 10-17-19 meeting.  The vendor would set and collect adoptions fees independent of the city and bear the cost of spay/neuter surgeries and rabies vaccines.  The vendor will have full fiduciary responsibility, yet there was no information requested in the RFP to assess the contractor's financial stability or the quality of its accounting/fiscal controls. 

The ASAC discussion of the RFP on 10-17-19 raised concerns that the agreement would be arm's length, so much so Assistant City Manager Michael Dane intervened to coach members on the need for the proposed relationship to appear arm's length.. 

Donating equipment with value should be done within the arc of the proposed changes and the city should understand how cost savings would be passed on to citizens. 

The City has a contract with PAWS for adoption and veterinary services.  Any movement of city assets to this contractor should occur in public view and citizens should have a clear understanding of how such donations will benefit them.

Update 12-15-19:  Critter Shack Rescue is the Community Cat sponsoring organization for the city and it operates a low cost spay neuter clinic for area citizens.  They have performed well roughly 3,000 spay/neuter surgeries since Council approved hiring PAWS for veterinary service.  PAWS did 87.

Update 12-16-19:  Last week Critter Shack contacted Shelter Director and expressed their interest in buying the idle veterinary surgical equipment from the city.  They followed up again today.  So far there has been no response.

Update 12-17-19:  City Council asked two questions before approving the donation of city owned equipment to Concho Valley PAWS.  Mayor Gunter asked why the equipment was not put up for auction and Councilman Lane Carter asked if the equipment would revert back to the city should the adoption services contract end (answer No).  Shelter Director Morgan said the community would benefit from giving the equipment to Concho Valley PAWS for the city's Pets Alive initiative.  No councilperson raised the concern of PAWS nonperformance under the veterinary services contract with the city.

Update 1-20-22:   PAWS new building opened in summer 2020.  PAWS indicated it was recruiting a vet in November 2020.  There is no indication that PAWS has used the veterinary services equipment despite Morgan's telling Council that PAWS was "hungry to take on that service" over two years ago.

Update 4-29-22:  Concho Valley PAWS will hold a grand opening of the Judith and David Hirschfeld Adoption Center at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 30th. 

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