On March 7, 2018, Orange County Animal Care opened its new animal shelter in the City of Tustin. The event included presentations from the Orange County Board of Supervisors and County staff. Chairman Do, Supervisor Steele, Supervisor Bartlett, and Supervisor Spitzer provided remarks regarding the development process and their vision for the program. The County discussed plans to implement the forthcoming strategic plan being prepared by JVR Shelter Strategies and stressed the need to use the new facility to improve the overall quality of care for animals.
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In 2016, Orange County Animal Care (“OCAC”) retained a consulting firm called JVR Shelter Strategies to review OCAC data to determine staffing and capacity needs for the new animal shelter. JVR Shelter Strategies is owned and operated by Dr. Jyothi Robertson, a veterinarian, who is board-qualified in Shelter Medicine. Dr. Robertson specializes in large-scale population dynamics, including outbreak management, infectious disease control, and shelter statistics. Prior to working with OCAC, Dr. Robertson completed a comprehensive review of the City of Irvine Animal Services.
At the most recent meeting of the City Manager’s Association Animal Care Committee (“CMAAC”) meeting on January 29, 2018, Dr. Robertson provided staff with a general overview of OCAC’s Strategic Plan. OCAC provided staff with a physical copy of the Executive Summary of its Strategic Plan which is attached for the City Council’s information (Attachment). The Executive Summary is divided into five strategic priorities: (1) Animal Care, Enrichment, and Placement, (2) Stakeholder Engagement and Marketing, (3) Culture and Organizational Development, (4) Fiscal Stewardship and Sustainability, and (5) New Shelter Preparation.
Each section of the Executive Summary outlines specific goals and measures of success for the program. According to the presentation provided by Dr. Robertson, these goals and measures are designed to ensure the program continues to improve care for each animal received at the new animal shelter and to specifically improve the live-release rate. As noted by JVR Shelter Strategies in Strategic Priority 1, Goal #4, the live release rate for dogs is currently over 90%. OCAC’s success measure is that the live release rate for dogs remain at this level. Dr. Robertson is also recommending a success measure to increase the live release rate for cats by 5% each year, with a target live release rate of 85% by 2020. Other aspects of the Strategic Plan highlighted in Dr. Robertson’s review included streamlining the adoption process, engaging volunteers, enhancing the organizational culture at OCAC, increasing licensing compliance to 60% by 2019, and engaging in efforts to streamline the opening of the new facility.
JVR currently is finalizing the OCAC Strategic Planning, which was not provided to staff. Upon completion, OCAC plans to share the final report with its contract partners, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and the community as part of outreach efforts. OCAC plans to take the final version of the Strategic Plan to the Orange County Board of Supervisors later this fiscal year but did not specify a date. At that time, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the recommendations.
OCAC anticipates that implementation of some of the proposed recommendations by JVR Shelter Strategies may require additional budget appropriations by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in the coming fiscal year. However, given that OCAC does not have policy direction from the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the fiscal impact to the County and the contract cities has not yet been estimated.
The CMAACC meeting scheduled for February 2018 was canceled due to OCAC’s need to move into the new animal care facility.
City staff attended the City Manager’s Association Animal Care Committee (“CMAAC”) meeting on April 19, 2018, at Orange County Animal Care’s (“OCAC”) new facility. Discussion topics included OCAC completed Strategic Plan, the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Operating Budget, and the status of hiring a permanent OCAC Director. This memorandum provides a summary of each topic discussed.
OCAC Strategic Plan
As previously reported to the City Council in 2016, Orange County Animal Care (“OCAC”) retained a consulting firm, JVR Shelter Strategies (“JVR”), to review OCAC data to determine staffing and capacity needs for the new animal shelter. Dr. Jyothi Robertson, JVR owner, specializes in large-scale population dynamics, including outbreak management, infectious disease control, and shelter statistics. Pursuant to OCAC’s agreement with the consultant, JVR worked with OCAC staff to guide the program’s strategic planning process.
At the most recent meeting of the CMAAC, OCAC staff reviewed its completed Strategic Plan, highlighting OCAC’s Vision, Mission, Motto, and Strategic Priorities. OCAC provided CMAAC members with a one-page Strategic Plan Overview detailing these components which is attached for the City Council’s information. Each identified strategic priority includes specific programs aimed at improving OCAC services. For example, OCAC identified “Stakeholder Engagement and Marketing” as a Strategic Priority. One method the organization will use to advance this priority is implementation of new policies and procedures to increase information sharing and transparency, which will include independent verification of monthly intake and outcome figures. Orange County Community Resources (“OCCR”) plans to take the completed Strategic Plan and the completed Fee Study to the Board of Supervisors on May 22, 2018.
Fiscal Year 2018-19 Operating Budget
In keeping with its outlined strategic priorities and programmatic actions, OCAC will implement new program initiatives in Fiscal Year 2018-19 which may impact overall operational costs. OCAC is evaluating potential alternative operating scenarios. Some of these scenarios could result in cost savings and enhanced revenue, such as additional fund raising opportunities and managing animal intake through requiring appointments to surrender animals and returning animals to owners in the field. OCAC provided staff with a Notice of Intent estimating the City’s share ($559,194) for the coming fiscal year. Staff will use this information as it develops the City’s Draft Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19.
OCAC Director Recruitment
During the meeting, OCCR Director, Dylan Wright, provided a status update regarding the department’s recruitment for a new program director. At this time, all applications have been reviewed, and OCCR staff found 13 candidates qualified for the position. The County will interview these candidates in the coming weeks to narrow the selection. Mr. Wright expressed interest in including City Manager participation in the interview process. Once a candidate is selected, OCAC will invite the final candidate to attend a CMAAC meeting and introduce this individual to participating cities’ representatives. OCCR provided a letter detailing its planned efforts for stakeholder involvement in selecting a new OCAC Director. Staff will provide updates relative to this process as appropriate.
Staff will continue to update the City Council relative to OCAC operations and provide any additional documents or information as appropriate. Should the City Council have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 949-461-3537.
The meeting scheduled for May 2018, was canceled; however, Orange County Community Resources Director (“OCCR”), Dylan Wright, provided a written update relative to the status of topics previously discussed during CMAAC meetings. This memorandum provides a summary of this update.
OCAC Strategic Plan and Fee Study
With the assistance of JVR, OCAC completed a draft of its Strategic Plan. Staff previously informed the City Council that OCCR intended to present the Strategic Plan and the Fee Study to the Board of Supervisors on May 22, 2018. However, OCCR determined that the Board of Supervisors will need to review the two documents individually. As a result, OCCR will present the Strategic Plan to the Board of Supervisors on May 22, 2018, but will postpone presentation of the Fee Study until July 2018.
Animal Licensing Application Upgrade
OCAC recently upgraded its web-based pet licensing application to enhance customer service to residents. The new program allows greater ease for customers to identify their pet’s licenses, create a new license for a new pet, and update records if a pet is lost or recently deceased. Additionally, the new application provides the option for residents to make monetary donations to OCAC. The new licensing program is available to view here: https://licensepet.com/wl3/reg/orngwl.
During its meeting of May 8, 2018, the Board of Supervisors discussed OCAC’s proposed fundraising campaign with a third-party fundraising firm called Convergent. The Board of Supervisors directed OCCR to proceed with Convergent for a six-month fundraising campaign. The County is responsible for the costs associated with this effort ($175,000) and anticipates generating approximately $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 through fundraising activities which could offset OCAC’s programming costs. OCAC and Convergent staff will meet within the next few weeks to begin the project and OCAC will provide updates to each participating City as appropriate.
OCAC recently partnered with Animals for Armed Forces. Over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, 2018, OCAC will offer free adoptions to active duty, reserve, and military veterans to thank and honor dedicated service men and women. A flyer promoting the adoption event is attached for the City Councils information (Attachment).
Staff will continue to update the City Council relative to OCAC operations and provide any additional information as appropriate. Should the City Council have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 949-461-3537.
City staff attended the City Manager’s Association Animal Care Committee meeting on June 21, 2018 at Orange County Animal Care (“OCAC”) headquarters. Discussion topics included a recent Panleukopenia outbreak at the animal shelter, the status of the recruitment effort for the Director of Animal Care, a recent agency fee study, OCAC’s fundraising efforts, and the organizations summer adoption promotions.
OCAC has identified the presence of panleukopenia and is taking immediate steps to contain the spread of the virus. Panleukopenia is a relatively common disease which may have serious consequences for unvaccinated and immune-immature cats and kittens. While panleukopenia is not unexpected in shelters this time of year, it is nonetheless concerning and OCAC is taking the situation seriously.
OCAC adopted a shelter-wide approach and implemented deep care and cleaning protocols with both staff and volunteers. Additionally, OCAC is limiting access to cats to in-kennel visits, and is administering booster immunizations to all shelter cats. While dangerous to unvaccinated cats, there is no risk to the public visiting the shelter. Regardless, OCAC continues to promote hand sanitization of all visitors as they enter and exit each cat area. To date, no Lake Forest cats have been affected by the virus and the shelter’s cat adoption process continues.
Director of Animal Care Recruitment Status
During the meeting, Orange County Community Resources (“OCCR”) Director, Dylan Wright, provided a status update regarding the department’s recruitment for a new Director of Animal Care. At this time, the County has extended an offer to the selected candidate and the County is awaiting a response. The candidate visited the facility during the recruitment process and will be introduced to the CMAACC in the near future, should he/she accept the position.
OCAC Fee Study
Staff previously informed the City Council that OCCR intended to present the Strategic Plan and the Fee Study to the Board of Supervisors in May 2018. However, OCCR determined that the Board of Supervisors would need to review the two documents individually. As a result, OCCR presented the Strategic Plan to the Board of Supervisors on May 22, 2018, and scheduled the presentation of the Fee Study for July 2018. If approved, updated licensing fees will take effect on September 1, 2018, and all others fees on August 1, 2018.
OCAC receives around $100,000 annually in donations. As a part of its newly adopted strategic plan, OCAC is committed to increasing fund raising efforts during the coming Fiscal Year. At its meeting of May 8, 2018, the Board of Supervisors discussed OCAC’s proposed fundraising campaign with a third-party fundraising firm called Convergent. The Board of Supervisors directed OCCR to proceed with Convergent for a six-month fundraising campaign. The County is responsible for the costs associated with this effort ($175,000) and anticipates generating approximately $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 through fundraising activities which could offset OCAC’s programming costs. OCAC and Convergent have begun the fundraising campaign.
Cool Cats of Summer Promotion
OCAC’s Cool Cats of Summer promotion lasts until the end of June. During this time, OCAC will waive all cat adoption fees, with the exception of the $17 microchip fee. OCAC uses donations to offset the expenses associated with this promotion.
Alternative Animal Care Shelter Exploration
The City Council previously directed staff to send letters to the cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano regarding potential interest in a partnership to provide animal care services. At this time, staff has received responses from many of the cities. Staff plans to present an update regarding this project to the City Council at a meeting in August 2018, to discuss next steps and receive further City Council direction.
Staff will continue to update the City Council relative to OCAC operations and the City’s effort to explore alternative shelter options as appropriate. Should the City Council have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (949) 461-3537.