National association praises Humane Society as highest ever rated
In seeking a review by the National Animal Control Association (NACA), all the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region wanted this year was to see “how we
were doing” after a turbulent past few years in which the Westside-based agency lost the city contract - resulting in major employee layoffs - then got it back again,
director Dr. Wes Metzler explained this week.
To his surprise and delight, the just-released NACA findings provided far more than a reassuring pat on the back. “The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has achieved distinction as the highest-rated organization ever reviewed by NACA,” states the executive summary by the NACA study team. Elsewhere, the summary states, “The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has a large number of personnel who are dedicated to provid(ing) qualitative and quantitative Animal Control/Care services. The Study Team was very impressed with the high standards and exemplary work ethic employees have established for themselves. The agency offers several innovative programs and services which have greatly benefited the animals and citizens within the region it serves.”
Metzler was scheduled to announce the report Oct. 5 at a meeting of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners.
The results are especially pleasing, he said, knowing that NACA, based in Kansas City, Mo., is “the group that sets the standards for animal control” nationwide.
Not that there weren't some criticisms in the 1,000-page report. “They go into exactly how to do things and how we might do better,” Metzler said. “One of these talked about our radio communication system. It's pretty old, and upgrading it is part of what we want to do.”
But as far as animal control itself, “they said at no time did they see an animal mishandled,” Metzler said. “Those are the kinds of things that make you feel good. Because we're picking up animals off the street, and off the schoolyard, and sometimes it's not an easy task to perform.”
Also the volume is high. The private agency handles about 23,000 animals a year on contracts with Colorado Springs and El Paso County. Most of these are dogs and cats, but there are also creatures such as horses, fish, birds or even emus, he said.
During the year and a half when Pikes Peak Humane lost the city contract in 2004 and '05, dozens of workers had to be laid off. The staff was down to 55 at one point, but is now back up to 90, Metzler said.
The NACA team spent more than 50 hours studying shelter operations, including Animal Control services in the field, impoundment, adoptions, lost pet reclaims, sanitation and disease control, animal care, euthanasia and shelter safety procedures.
Pikes Peak Humane operates the only animal shelter in the county. It also has contracts for services with Douglas County and the City and County of Pueblo, he said.
“Naturally, we're delighted that the NACA Study Team has given us their highest-ever rating,” Metzler said. “The recognition is certainly motivating. It just makes us want to work even harder as we move forward with our programs and services for the animals in need.”
Westside Pioneer article