Friday, October 28, 2011

Gwinnett's Animal Task Force Overview

With the announcement of Gwinnett's "Animal Task Force" a number of citizens have raised questions on what the purpose and objectives the task force would address.  Here is a brief overview.

Gwinnett County has instituted a process to identify and implement short and long term strategies that will improve quality of life and reduce the number of euthanized healthy or treatable pets.

Strategies will include programs which promote good behavior from pet owners ; evaluation the structure and policies of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit ; promote collaboration between local agencies, non-profit organizations and citizens ; and strengthening of current enforcement tools and practices.

The Gwinnett Animal Task Force is created as part of an effort designed to develop and implement ideas and strategies which reduce the number of animals euthanized and promote responsible pet owner practices.  Objectives of the Task Force include:

Developing an Existing Conditions Report which will review all services Gwinnett County currently provides or promotes that address the care of animals.  This should include a review of Gwinnett County versus comparable peer agencies in the area of operations, administrative activities, animal care, adoption rates, and the investigation rates of animal neglect or cruelty;

Developing a Best Practices Report consisting of recommendations based, in part, on the Existing Conditions Report.  Recommendations will discuss organizational structure and service offerings that promote lifesaving programs including adoptions, fees, spay/neuter services, pet retention, and responsible pet ownership;

Developing recommendations on how to provide care to animals in the future that are currently, or which may become, the responsibility of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center.  Recommendations may explore opportunities for efficiencies, which include, but are not limited to, partnerships, programs, recommended policies or other methods as identified in the Best Practices Report;

Creating a public relations campaign to encourage animal rescue, adoption, spay/neuter programs, and responsible pet ownership;

Recommending changes in current code and policies used to promote preservation of life, quality of life, and the humane treatment of animals.  During this process, issues determined to be long-term or outside the scope of this Task Force will be identified for further study; and

Recommending changes in the current organizational structure and/or mission of the Gwinnett County Animal Advisory Council.

Developing recommendations concerning the management of the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center; including potential partnerships with private organizations or entities.

It is anticipated that during the approximate four-month period that Task Force members will assist Gwinnett County in implementing recommended modifications to the Gwinnett County Code of Ordinances and policies concerning animals, recommended organizational structure and activities for the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit, recommended organizational structure and activities of the Gwinnett County Animal Advisory Council, and/or initiating relationships determined to have an immediate impact on animal issues in Gwinnett County

We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett commend our county commissioners for establishing through the Task Force the expertise leadership needed to be the vehicle for changing our culture on animal welfare issues for years to come.

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