The City of Amarillo suffers from a problem of severe animal overpopulation. With a MSA population of approximately 262,000, Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare takes in almost 13,000 animals annually. By comparison, the City of Austin with a population of slightly over 2 million (800% of Amarillo). Both Austin and Waco had animal overpopulation issues. In 2010, Austin's intake was 23,000+ with a live release rate of approximately 50%. As recently as 2012, Waco's intake was 12,000 animals. Both cities have solved their problem in a relatively short amount of time.
Amarillo currently has no coordinated plan for dealing with its animal problem. This paper constitutes the Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society's comprehensive plan for managing the problem by focusing on the three strategic variables of animal population management: 1) Intake Reduction, 2) Live Release and 3) Capacity for Care. Through the implementation of this plan, APHS is prepared to commit to achieving a 90% live release rate for dogs and cats from the AAM&W Animal Shelter within a 4 year period.
Key components of the plan are:
1. Intake Reduction
a. Establishment of a Breeders Ordinance
b. Elimination of "Roadside" puppy sales, and
c. Establishment of reduced cost spay/neuter clinic
2. Live Release
a. Expand the rescue network
b. Increase the number of weekly transports
3. Capacity for Care
a. Expand the foster program
b. Initiate community outreach
c. Partnering with media outlets
Anyone seeking to breed an animal must purchase a breeders permit for each litter of puppies bred. The ordinance will be drafted by AAM&W. 100% of breeders fees will accrue to the spay/neuter clinic.
Puppy sales by anyone not in possession of a breeder's permit will be prohibited. 501(c)(3) corporations will be the only organizations authorized to engage in animal adoption.
Reduced Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic
APHS, at its expense, will establish a reduced cost spay/neuter clinic as part of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the City of Amarillo. The target markets for the clinic are low income, senior citizens, veterans and disabled individuals. The target locations will be established high intake areas of the city. In these locations, door to door spay/neuter campaigns will be initiated.
The clinic will provide spay and neuter services at a rate not to exceed to 70% of the average rate charged by five randomly selected local veterinary clinics. Prices will be adjusted annually during the month of July.
The clinic will employ two full time veterinarians and staff: one crew for the Amarillo facility and another crew for the mobile facility. Spay/neuter surgeries will increase from the current level of 200 per month to 400-500 animals per month at the Amarillo facility. The mobile clinic will support outlying communities with an additional 300-400 surgeries.
Finally, the clinic will provide low cost vaccination services and animal care on a space available basis.
Trap - Neuter - Return (TNR)
APHS will continue to aggressively support the TNR program. This proven technique for the long term management of the feral cat population is the most effective tool available. APHS may consider the use of bounties as a way to incentivize trapping.
APHS will expand out-placement of animals to rescues by increasing the rescue network.
- Increase the number of affiliated rescues in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana
- Tap into the National ASPCA rescue network
APHS will increase its transport fleet:
- A second transport van will be bought
- The frequency of animal transport will double. Instead of one operating a transport to Colorado and Kansas every other week, transport will occur every week. Whenever possible, multiple weekly trips will be initiated. APHS will use volunteer drivers whenever possible but APHS is prepared to hire transport drivers.
The primary source of animal population capacity will continue to be the animal shelter operated by Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare. The shelter has 122 kennels plus and an additional 20 kennels that are reserved for bite dogs.
A vibrant foster program is critical to increasing temporary shelter capacity. APHS will appoint a dedicated Foster Coordinator who will do nothing but manage the foster network. This will include creating weekly foster events, securing media promotion for foster events and actively dropping off and picking up foster animals. The latter will greatly enhance the number of available fosters.
APHS will initiate an outreach program to other communities within the Texas Panhandle that are affiliated with Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare (AAM&W). This includes using the APHS mobile surgery trailer to provide low cost spay/neuter to the affiliated community as well as low cost vaccinations. APHS will, whenever possible, expand its brand through the establishment of satellite offices within affiliated communities.
APHS will operate regular events at the shelter to draw people to the animals. By partnering with other community charities, citizens will be offered heavily discounted prices on foster animals: $20.17, $20.18, etc. in exchange for their support. This will take the form of donate a toy to Toys for Tots and get a discounted animal; donate a book and get a discounted animal; donate food to the Food Bank and get a discounted animal.
APHS and its partner, KAMR-TV, will build Panhandle-wide awareness. Under the banner "Jackie's Pet Picks," KAMR-TV anchor Jackie Kingston will promote foster animals that will be aggressively priced for adoption: $20.17, $20.18, etc. to build shelter awareness. KAMR will be the main platform for informing outlying communities of the mobile clinic services and the clinic schedule.
APHS will incorporate other media partners such as the Amarillo Globe-News and KGNC/The Eagle radio stations as well as radio stations in the outlying communities.
APHS proposes to fund this proposal through a combination of public and private funds.
The City of Amarillo will provide funding to APHS based on the combination of public donations and breeders fee. APHS will attempt to implement a $1 check-off donation program for the State of Texas.
City of Amarillo Funding: At least 18 municipalities in Texas currently provide funding to various local entities via public donations that are added to the water bill. Donations range from a low of $0.50/month to a high of $2.50/month.
APHS requests that the Amarillo City Council add a 90 cent ($0.90) check-off fee to the City of Amarillo monthly water bills. Fees will accrue to APHS on a monthly basis. Since APHS is a qualifying 501(c)(3) charity, all donations are tax deductible by the donor.
APHS will use the funds to establish and operate the reduced cost spay/neuter clinic, support rescue operations, increase foster operations and increase shelter support operations.
Oversight of funding will fall to the Amarillo Animal Advisory Board. At least one member of the Advisory Board will also have a seat on the APHS Board of Directors.
Indigent Fund: Animal owners will be charged a $3.00 fee at the time a rabies vaccination is administered. The fee will be collected by the organization administering the vaccination and remitted to the City of Amarillo. 100% of the fees will be applied to veterinary care provided to animals whose owners are unable to pay. The fee payment rate will be established by the APHS Board of Directors as part of the annual market survey. Oversight of collections and payment of claims will fall to the Amarillo Animal Advisory Board.
Breeders Fee: All fees collected through the Breeders Ordinance will accrue to the clinic.
Check-off Fee: APHS will seek to implement legislation in the Texas Legislature to institute a voluntary $1 Check-off Fee to annual vehicle registration whereby citizens can donate $1 to low cost spay/neuter facilities. The fee will accrue to recognized low cost spay/neuter facilities according to the zip code areas serviced by the facility.
GO FUND ME
APHS has initiated a donation drive on GoFundMe.com - the campaign is 90-Four-90. All funds raised will go to the establishment of the spay/neuter clinic. https://www.gofundme.com/aphs90four90
The clinic will charge for services provided. Charges shall be set at a rate not to exceed 70% of the average rate charged by five randomly selected local veterinary clinics. Prices will be adjusted annually in the month of July by the APHS Board of Directors.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP)
Public-Private Partnerships are a way for public institutions without sufficient resources or expertise to leverage their needs. Commonly used overseas, PPP conveys a limited monopoly to a private institution for the purpose of performing a public function.
The City of Amarillo and the Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society will establish a Public Private Partnership Agreement, under which APHS will assume the risk associated with establishing and operating the Panhandle Spay/Neuter Clinic: APHS will build, equip, staff and operate the clinic. In exchange, the City of Amarillo will collect all water bill donations and pass the funds to APHS on a monthly basis.
Breeders fees will be paid to the clinic on a quarterly basis.
In addition to receiving public donations, APHS will also receive all fees charged for the services provided. The clinic's fee structure will be set by the Board of Directors and will be below market rate as determined according to the terms specified in the PPP agreement.
Larry Milam - Executive Director
Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society