Seeking model Animal Control Dept.
April 9, 2012 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Is there any big city anywhere that has a really competent Animal Control Dept?

Our city pays lip service to the "best practices," but is still little to no help in solving stray animal complaints. I have lived all over the US, and no major city seems to do the job well. (This is southeast US, so spay-neuter laws are weak.) At least they aren't actively contributing to the cruelty problem (listen up, Memphis!). Why is this always such an extremely low priority? aside from whines about budget.
posted by mmiddle to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have heard good things about Calgary's program for a while now.
posted by cairdeas at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2012

I've lived all over the place, and at least my observation has been that you're largely correct, but it seems that it's definitely worse in the South, probably for a combination of cultural reasons and the fact that you don't have a winter cold enough to really thin out the pack, so to speak.
posted by Oktober at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2012

Look into cities that have instituted a No-Kill City goal, like Austin, TX. One key part of the no-kill philosophy is reducing the number of stray animals through aggressive spay-neuter programs (preventing strays) and microchipping (returning strays to owners when possible).

But yes, in my experience when budgets are cut, animal control is often the first place that cities look to cut budgets (you can look at the history of San Antonio No-Kill 2012 initiative and how that was affected by Texas budget cuts). And yes, cutting Animal Control budget severely affects their capability to patrol for stray animals. Let's say that I see a pack of strays at 9am and call it in promptly. If there are not many animal control officers, it may take them a couple hours to make it out to the location. Stray dogs can have territories that they patrol which are miles wide - by the time the officer gets there, the dogs are long gone and may not be back till nightfall.
posted by muddgirl at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2012

FWIW, most city animal control depts. are typically some of the lowest-budgeted departments. (Or, if they're like the town I live in, they're zeroed-out and no longer exist.) The departments are, typically, staffed with people who genuinely care about animals and do the best they can with the few dollars they are allocated.

Animals don't vote. So animal departments simply don't appear on the radar of the politicians running the budgets.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:03 PM on April 9, 2012

Palm Beach County Animal Control in FL is one of the best in the US, IMO. (I've only worked with them on cruelty cases, I can't speak to their stray control.)
posted by srrh at 4:25 PM on April 9, 2012

Best answer: The Nebraska Humane Society is the fifth-oldest humane society in the United States. The people that run it are really passionate about animals and the facility is extremely clean and modern. They run a summer camp, Camp Kindness, that fills up almost as soon as it opens. They partner with a lot of local schools, have a charity walk for the animals, and have an animal behavioralist available for online chats occasionally. They also offer boarding and obedience classes. Of course, they handle stray/cruelty cases as well but they also try to focus on prevention and education.
posted by Ostara at 8:28 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everyone, and sorry for the delay in following up. All these suggestions are very helpful.
posted by mmiddle at 6:02 AM on May 18, 2012

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