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A Study of Animal Overpopulation Crisis in Pulaski County - July, 2000. County of Pulaski, July 12, 2000 prepared by Tom Combiths

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A Study of Animal Overpopulation Crisis in Pulaski County - July, 2000. County of Pulaski, July 12, 2000 prepared by Tom Combiths. Introduction. The Humane Society of the United States estimates: approximately 12 million animals are taken to shelters each year

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A Study of Animal Overpopulation Crisis in Pulaski County - July, 2000.County of Pulaski, July 12, 2000prepared by Tom Combiths

  • The Humane Society of the United States estimates:
  • approximately 12 million animals are taken to shelters each year
  • 6 to 8 million of these pets will not find a new home
  • People unaware of the problem, often allow their own pets to add to the overpopulation crisis
introduction cont
Introduction (cont.):
  • In 1999 Pulaski County Animal Control:
    • Picked up and sheltered over 1,900 animals;
    • Of an average 158 per month, less than half of these animals found new homes.
    • During the same period the three county animal control officers responded to over 3,000 animal complaints.
introduction cont4
Introduction (cont.):
  • one pair of dogs and their offspring could result in 62,000 dogs in only six years
  • a pair of cats and their offspring could result in 420,000 cats in six years.
The present animal shelter was built in about 1976 and is 1,200 sq. ft.large. It has been operating at capacity for over 5 years.

Improvements have been made to the shelter in the past five years, including:

climate control

two private offices


waste disposal

small animal cages

epoxy sealing over concrete

quarantine areas

electrical upgrades

record keeping technology

shelter maintenance problems include
adequate animal holding space,

cracking concrete,

rusting metal doors,

aging roof,

termite damage,

rotting wood,

lack of storage space,

inadequate airflow,

noise abatement,

lack of insulation

labor intensive maintenance

animal control staffing has more than doubled over the past five years including
Animal Control Staffing has more than doubled over the past five years, including:
  • Supervision by the Sheriff and Chief Deputy
  • increase from 2 to 3 animal control officers
  • addition of support staff for public contact and administration
maintenance concerns
Maintenance concerns
  • Staff must choose between adequate shelter maintenance and patrolling to assist citizens or respond to calls.
  • Frequent cleaning of the floor of with water leads to cracks that can harbor bacteria.
animal population in the county is above the national average
Animal population in the County is above the national average:
  • due in large part to the fact the county is rural in nature, and
  • households tend to keep multiple pets.
current cost of county animal control services is high
Current cost of County animal control services is high:
  • approximately $150,000 annually,
  • more than county support of rescue squads
  • more than county support of the Office on Youth.

A sterilization program for claimed and adopted animals has been in place for 10 years. With the recent addition of a part-time staff person the shelter has been able able to put more effort into sterilization enforcement. More aggressive sterilization efforts would require additional resources.


Shelters are not the source of excessive euthanasia of animals. Irresponsible pet owners have caused the crisis of too many unwanted pets.Note: An altered pet is a healthier ,more content, gentle and affectionate pet. (80% of pets hit by cars are un-neutered males)

  • Expense to upgrade shelter, vehicles & equipment has been high.
  • There has been no financial support from the towns for these services.
  • Annual dog license revenue collected has been less than $20,000 less than 15% of the operating costs.
needs issues related to county animal control
Needs/Issues Related to County Animal Control
  • State legislation can impose civil penalties for poor shelter conditions (HB 1514 effective 07/01/01).
  • Building rehabilitation efforts (e.g. electrical upgrades,office additions,plumbing,epoxy cover, HVAC,etc.) have resulted in marginal improvements due to the age and and type of construction of the current facility.
needs issues cont
Needs/Issues (cont.)
  • Evaluating staffing needs for workload management.
  • Controlling airborne illnesses due to large number of unvaccinated strays brought to facility.
  • Recovering costs operations at shelter through fees.
  • Enhancing public perception of animal shelter facility.
needs issues cont17
Needs/Issues (cont.)
  • Encouraging volunteer contribution and private giving.
  • Balancing increased demands on the animal control officers due to the dog control ordinance and the rise of vicious dogs(e.g. chows,pit bulls,rotwillers, etc..) against adequate shelter maintenance.
  • Providing adequate kennels to hold dogs with high potential for adoption.
capital investment alternatives
Capital Investment Alternatives
  • Alternative 1: Remodel existing shelter(appox. 1,200sq.ft.) and expand facility and operations on current site.
    • Shelter expansion would include: a minimum of 16 kennel runs,reception/adoption/education (multi-purpose) room, staff offices,storage and corridor.
  • Alternative 2: Build a new, more publicly visible and accessible shelter.
remodel expand advantages
County already owns site,

public is knowledgeable of location,

public sewer is available,

site is central to county-wide accessibility,

animal noise does not create a neighborhood nuisance,

ample security is provided for human/animal safety

Additional County resources are next door in the event of an emergency.

Existing shelter could be used for:



isolation units,


peak occupancy

county garage overflow needs.

Remodel / Expand - advantages

Material Costs Estimates

  • Non-porous flooring $3,000
  • Existing repairs $3,000
  • HVAC repairs $1,000
  • Ventilation/Air Purification $2,500
  • Cleaning System $3,000
  • Noise Control $3,000
  • Euthanasia Chamber $200
  • Storage $4,000
  • Kennel Equipment(misc.) $3,000
  • Labor $25,000

Total: $47,700

  • 2,100 sq.ft. @ $65/sq.ft. = $136,500 for addition at same location of modular construction.
  • Total Cost of Onsite Expansion: $184,200
alternative 2 build
Alternative 2: Build
  • (minimum 16 kennel) shelter.
new shelter advantages
New shelter - advantages
  • modern/accessible shelter
  • increase adoption of pets
  • reduce unnecessary euthanasia
  • increase shelter cleanliness
  • reduce risk of illness/disease
  • reduce veterinarian expenses
  • increase staff productivity
  • increase operating efficiencies.
new shelter cost
New shelter cost:
  • 3,100 sq.ft. @ $65/sq.ft.=$201,500
  • Set a five-year time period to make improvements.
  • Appoint a citizens advisory committee to assist with a study of an appropriate shelter upgrade.
  • Seek the input and financial support of all stakeholders in an improved animal shelter.
  • Match the shelter design to an effective animal control staffing and management program.
ideas and resources
Ideas and Resources
  • Cooperative relationship with surrounding jurisdictions
  • “Special animal adoption events in the park”
  • Cost Recovery on reclaimed and adopted pets
  • “One stop” licensing clinics with vaccination/spay/neuter
  • Foundation/charity grant programs
  • Endowment and/or planned giving trust fund for capital expenditures
  • Assistance from the Virginia/Maryland School of Veterinary Medicine at Va. Tech
  • Privatization

better and at least cost?

five additional regional strategies to pet overpopulation
Five Additional Regional Strategies toPetOverpopulation:
  • Educate and Inform
  • Promote Spaying and Neutering
  • Encourage stable homes for unwanted pets
  • Increase adoption rates for companion animals
  • Provide incentives and enforcement