Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gwinnett Task Force Overview

In an effort to better understand the changes needed to reduce the number of pets killed at our shelter and strengthen animal services, Gwinnett has instituted a process to identify and implement short and long-term strategies that will include programs which promote good behavior from pet owners; evaluation of the structure and policies of the Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit; promote collaboration between local agencies, non-profit organizations and citizens; and strengthening of current enforcement tools and practices.

The objectives of the Animal Task Force include:

Developing an Existing Conditions Report that 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 areas 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 on, in part the Existing Conditions Report. Recommendations will discuss organizational structure and service offerings that promote life saving 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 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.

Recommend 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 Enforcement Center, potential partnerships with private organizations or entities.

It is anticipated that during this four-month period that Task Force members will assist Gwinnett County in implementing recommending modifications to the Code of Ordinances and policies concerning animals, recommending organizational structure and activities for the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit, recommended changes to current operating procedures, 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.

Public Meetings

All meetings will be open to the public. Schedule to be announced.

Task Force Structure

The Task Force will be made up of 3 members who represent rescue groups (1 each for dog, cat and large animal rescue), 1 member who is a veterinarian, 1 ag rep, 1 animal related business rep and 1 rep for the Gwinnett Municipal Association. The remaining ten members shall be private citizens with each commissioner having two appointments. Task Force members shall not be individuals serving on the Gwinnett Animal Advisory Council.

A group of advisors will serve as support to the Animal Service Task Force. Advisors may be staff, individuals, committees, or institutions that bring important knowledge or expertise and will assist the Task Force in the successful development and/or implementation of this study’s findings. Members of the current Animal Advisory Council may serve, at their pleasure and in the discretion of the Task Force.

The Policy Subcommittee will make recommendations on how Gwinnett County should modify current code and polices used to preserve and enhance the quality of life of animals.

The Structure Committee will be tasked with identifying and making recommendations on the future structure of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit.

The Program Subcommittee will address how to modify current County policy and practices to better promote good health and well-being for animals that have been received by the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center; facilitate adoptions; encourage visitors to the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center; encourage and increase volunteers at the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center; and review and make recommendations for modifications to the fees charged for animal services provided by Gwinnett County

The Partnership Subcommittee will identify and create strategies which promote key intra/inter-governmental relationships to facilitate effectiveness and efficiency and determine how to best connect with key agencies and organizations in order to promote the health and well-being of companion animals.

Final Report

The Final Report will be used as a map to implement short and long-term strategies which maximize the organizational effectiveness of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit and the Animal Advisory Council; promote the quality of life for animals; propose approaches to reduce the rate of euthanized healthy or treatable animals; and promote responsible pet ownership. The following items will be included in this document;

1. Executive Summary
2. Review of Existing Practices
3. Best Practices Review
4. Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit Structure Recommendations
5. Animal Advisory Council Structure Recommendations
6. Marketing Strategy
7. Prioritized Short-Term Work Plan
8. Prioritized Long-Term Work Plan
9. Compiled Monthly Status Report

Implementation requirements; time frame; and estimated costs will be provided for each issue identified.

Unofficial Task Force Members

2011 0698 Chair Nash                Wayne Wallis
2011 0699 Chair Nash                Tabled 11/15
2011-0700 District 1 Lasseter     Elizabeth Burgner
2011 0701 District 1 Lasseter      Jane Stewart
2011 0702 District 2 Howard      Tabled 11/15
2011 0703 District 2 Howard      Solveign Evans
2011 0704 District 3 Beaudreau   Joel Taylor (Chairman)
2011 0705 District 3 Beaudreau   Jon Richards
2011-0708 District 4 Heard         James Freeman
2011 0899 District 4 Heard          Dr Cathy Fish
2011 0709 Large Animal              Tabled 11/15
2011 0710 Cat Rescue                 Tati Romeo
2011 0711 Dog Rescue                Wanda Johnson
2011 0712 Veterinarian Rep         Tabled 11/15
2011 0739 Agriculture Rep           Angie Peavy (not confirmed)
2011 0741 Animal Related Business Tabled 11/15
2011 0742 Gwinnett Municipal Tabled 11/15

We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett encourages the citizens of Gwinnett to support and get behind our Animal Task Forceth in it’s bold effort at bringing about real change to revitalize the way we view our animal services unit and the role pets play in helping make Gwinnett a beacon for responsible pet ownership.

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