- With the February 2013 launch of our petition to reform Metro Animal Care & Control (MACC), some increased transparency and public awareness, and new program initiatives from the health department, MACC’s kill rate has dropped from 78% to 69%. Hey, we’ll take it.
- The adoption ban on pit bulls and pit bull type dogs was lifted for pups younger than 6 months old, and in July, we saw pit bull puppies successfully adopted for the first time in decades. Several MACC staff members participated in the ASPCA’s SAFER temperament test training in August and are currently undergoing the certification process. Once certification is awarded, adult pitties will have the same opportunity at adoption as the little guys.
- The new rescue partner policy/application is now in place. Gone is the two-week waiting period, and rescues are finally being offered discounted adoption fees. We’ve even seen some creative adoption promotions, such as $5 cat adoptions.
- Since July 1, Rebecca Morris, a program specialist with the health department, has been charged with developing and implementing new programs aimed at further lowering MACC’s kill rate:1. A robust volunteer program; 2. A program called “Saving Lives Through Photography;” and 3. The utilization of social media to promote impounded animals. (We don’t want to gloat here, but…sound familiar?) We’re pleased to say we’ve seen some really great photos of animals. We’re also excited about the MACC-dedicated Twitter and Facebook pages that were recently launched to increase visibility of MACC’s impounded animals. We hope these initiatives will increase awareness of Nashville’s unfortunate stray animal population, as well as encourage public participation in the solution.
…but let us not forget how far we have yet to go.
- To date, no details regarding a new volunteer policy have been released. As far as we know, the hefty price tag of the criminal background and motor vehicle check is still a deterrent, and the volunteer tasks available remain somewhat limited. We anxiously await an announcement to the contrary. In the meantime, we look forward to any feedback from you regarding your attempts to volunteer – either successful or unsuccessful.
- We’d like to see volunteers utilized to update PetFinder – volunteer photographers on a routine schedule, who write bios and upload pictures. We realize this process is very time consuming, and we believe PetFinder can and should be a volunteer-managed initiative. Many profiles on PetFinder have no photos, and those with photos are still not accompanied by descriptive bios. And remember, there are many “hidden” animals at MACC that the public never sees – animals that don’t appear on PetFinder. We think the public should decide which animals are “adoptable,” not MACC staff.
- Maybe it’s too much to ask, but we hope at some point extended adoption hours will be considered. The current adoption hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM, are very limiting, especially when considering working families. Extended adoption hours have been implemented successfully in neighboring counties by utilizing volunteers and limited staff during “adoption only” hours – yet another possible win-win solution that can be reached with no negative fiscal impact.
- We continue to hear from rescue partners who believe MACC’s rescue partnerships are not truly partnerships. We consistently hear that the line of communication with MACC is not open to all rescues – that MACC continues to “play favorites.” And that unwritten rules apparently still exist – like only certain animals are available for rescue, and for some animals, there is still an arbitrary waiting period. Until all rescue partners are treated equally and the unwritten bureaucracy of saving an animal is removed, there will be no true partnerships. And this is something that falls solely in the purview of MACC’s director.
- As always, we want more transparency. Tax payers want to know how their money is being spent, and animal lovers want to know how policies and programs are being developed. Where MACC is concerned, the public is constantly denied the right to information and the right to participate in their government. People desire an active partnership with MACC. They want to help – to be part of the solution. MACC just needs to open the door.
After several months and with more than 10,800 signatures (both online and manual), it’s time. It’s time to close the petition. Our goal was to build an army of supporters for reform and send a message to elected officials and key decision-makers. Our message? We want change. And we will not go away until we get it. The petition has served its purpose, so it’s time to close that chapter and begin a new one.
So here you are. Thank you. And here we are – 1 year after we embarked on this journey. We are not going away – we will continue fact gathering and shining the light where it needs to be shined. Stay with us, and keep fighting the good fight.
As always – for the animals.
Concerned Citizens for Change