The Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center, Leon County Humane Society, Be The Solution, Inc. and Leon County Animal Control joined the ASPCA Partnership in January 2012. They are working to expand spay/neuter programs, decrease the number of animals relinquished, increase adoptions, increase the Return to Owner rate and launch a Trap-Neuter-Return pilot program.
What They Hope to Accomplish Together
- Increase adoptions by 13% (from 37%)
Challenges They Face
- There are no high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinics within 100 miles of Tallahassee, and the partners rely on a voucher program established with local veterinarians (and in the case of the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center, one shelter veterinarian and several local vets).
- Trap-Neuter-Return [trap-neuter-return.php] programs are almost nonexistent in Tallahassee. A handful of caretakers offer TNR, but they must pay for the sterilizations themselves. There had been no resources to support caretakers or their TNR efforts in the community.
- Heartworm is very common—30% to 50% of dogs coming into the shelter test positive.
worked well together in the past, mostly doing our own thing, though.
Now we're working on more joint efforts and getting things done more
efficiently and effectively for animals."
Getting Set for Success
When the partners began working on their Logic Model, a blueprint that illustrates the outcomes and related activities that must be achieved to reach their desired Live Release Rate (LRR) for the year, they agreed to focus on safety net [safety-net-program.php] initiatives that would reduce overall intake into the city shelter and expand their spay/neuter voucher program.
A few of their initial plans to decrease intake included:
- Increasing distribution of spay/neuter vouchers
What Is Working So Far
- The partners took part in an ASPCA Mega Match-a-thon, an 8-hour pet adoption event that began at midnight inside a local mall and offered $20 adoption fees. The partners found homes for 186 pets (smashing their goal of 100) and distributed an additional 43 spay/neuter vouchers.
- A grant enables all animal control officers to carry microchip scanners to check for chips so that pets can be returned to their owners in the field without ever entering a shelter.
- New tagging machines are giving shelter staff and animal control officers the ability to make ID tags, which are often delivered during their follow-up visits to pet owners' homes. The machines also ensure every adopted pet or lost pet reunited with owners receives a collar and ID tag at no additional cost.
groups talked to each other, but we did our own things and didn't
address issues as a community. This partnership has opened the door to
more resources and funding in the community and more collaboration
The Tallahassee partners have demonstrated an enthusiastic start to their participation in the ASPCA Partnership and are using all of the available resources to build a foundation for their shared community goals.
High on their to-do list will be the development of a plan to increase future capacity to meet the community's growing need for high-volume spay/neuter and to address free-roaming cats.
ASPCA Partnership provided the community framework we needed to work
together. From step-by-step mentoring to providing immediate resources
to help us reach out in to the community and help Tallahassee pet
"We have big hopes and dreams," says Richard Ziegler, director of Leon County Animal Control. "Thankfully, our liaison at the ASPCA helps us stay grounded and shows us what resources are needed to achieve our goals step-by-step. We have seen what we can accomplish together in just a few months, so naturally we're a bit eager to continue with that success. It will be exciting to see what we achieve together over the next few years"