I live in Dayton, Ohio and run a local rescue. Our county administrators hired Dr. Sara Pizano (she used to run Target Zero and she now runs Team Shelter USA) to look at our county shelter (called the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center) in response to numerous allegations of ongoing mismanagement and wrongdoing. Is anyone is familiar with Dr. Pizano's work in this area? I would like honest opinions. I'd also be interested in knowing if you know of any other groups who evaluate municipal shelters with high euthanasia rates.
I appreciate your feedback!
I hope you were able to attend the Best Practice presentation in Dayton when we were there last week. If not, a recording of the meeting will be uploaded shortly to the county's website and I would encourage you to listen to it.
Dr. Pizano and I worked together at Target Zero for 4 years before she started her own consulting firm and I was hired on with Million Cat Challenge. You can visit target-zero.org to learn more about the communities we helped transform from high euthanasia open admission shelters to low euthanasia shelters implementing Best Practice standards.You can also reach out to those directors and ask about their experiences with our team.
We are now working together again as the University of Florida's Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, Million Cat Challenge has contracted Dr. Pizano to perform shelter assessments with our team. We will be submitting a report to the Montgomery County leadership very soon which will ultimately be available for the community to read. You are welcome to contact us with any questions after you read it, I believe you will find the information very straight forward and easy to digest.
Please keep in mind that the media is not always positive when it comes to shelter directors. So many shelter leaders are persecuted unfairly in the media. Instead I would recommend that you listen to the presentation and form your own opinions.
We are looking forward to the report coming out and were very impressed at the community meeting with Team Shelter USA. I was wondering, however, why the cats are caged now instead of being free? I have friends who volunteer in the cat room and they don't like this change very much but I think there must be a reason for it.
Yes, there are very good reasons for this that relate to exposure to infectious disease and increasing stress in cats. You will be able to read more in the report.
We want to give you an update and let you know that we think Sara's Team Shelter USA and U of Fl Maddie's Shelter program did an absolutely phenomenal job at assessing the Animal Resource Center In Dayton. The level of objectivity, detail and expertise provided was impressive. Another Ohio shelter paid $60,000 more than we did for a much briefer assessment and I feel that we were very fortunate that our county hired Team Shelter USA et al. We are anxiously but patiently waiting for the changes to process and for them to hire staff.We do have questions about some of the recommendations and wish we could get an answer. We have no doubt in any of them but wish for education. The two concerns people have are (1) discontinuing temperament testing, (2) low cost and free adoptions, and (3) discontinuing health exams. I fully agree with the research, provided by the same people who invented SAFER testing that was previously being used, that temperament testing does not do the dogs justice because behavior in the shelter is vastly different than behavior at home. However, people are concerned about how dogs will be placed. The rescues in Dayton ask for information on dogs (are they dog friendly? can they live with another foster dog? what are their medical issues?) and now, the Animal Resource Center will just say, "Need someone to take this yellow lab" but won't provide any more information and it makes people nervous. This sort of ties into people's fear about the low adoption fees or none at all. There is concern by the public that this will allow dogs to be placed in the wrong home (impulse buys, and the infamous "bait dog" worry). Some will argue that even breeders are more responsible than this. Some argue that with the right adoption counseling, the cost of adopting a dog should be no concern. However, the ARC does not have any staff trained in adoption counseling and the Animal Care Providers are already filled with tasks. How can we make sure the animals are placed safely?Lastly, people are concerned about ridding health exams or "cutting health corners" but as evident in the report, the health exams were causing a bottleneck and animals were missing their chance to get adopted out. How can I convince the others not to worry about this?
In response to your question about other organizations offering shelter assessments. Target Zero, Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Network, the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Programs at UC Davis, University of Florida and University of Wisconsin are a few that come to mind.
Thanks. Team Shelter USA and University of Florida Maddie's Shelter program turned out to be top of the line.
I think we're lucky in the shelter world to have so many great people doing shelter assessments. City and county leaders will sometimes listen to an outside consultant even when they ignore local advocates.
I wish I had something good to say about Sara Pizano. After she assessed our shetler and published a report, our sheriff's office was investigating our shelter for cruelty/neglect and Sara Pizano talked them out of it and said she didn't see anything criminal. How are these findings not considered criminal? I smell corruption...
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