Best Friends Animal Society’s shelter outreach team provides customized assessments and support for individual animal shelters and the communities they serve. Through the outreach program, each community receives a shelter operations and field services assessment (if applicable) designed to identify specific areas of need and help implement best practices in animal welfare. Ongoing support is also provided to ensure that new programs and practices are sustainable and successful. The outreach team uses a collaborative approach to each shelter partnership and believes that every shelter should have the opportunity to determine its own organizational needs based on lifesaving impact in that community. As a rule, it avoids a “one size fits all” approach because, just like every individual animal, each shelter and its community has its own individual personality and needs, said officials.
On May 3-4, members of the Best Friends municipal and shelter support team conducted a shelter operational and field assessment for McKamey Animal Center. The basis of the request for an assessment was to provide the new leadership at MAC with a baseline understanding of where shelter and field operations currently are in line with nationally proven strategies and where there are opportunities for growth. This report will primarily focus on areas in need of improvement regarding main operational activities and community impact. Areas where improvement is needed will be highlighted and followed by recommendations based on proven strategies in shelter and field operations. Once the recommendations are accepted by MAC leadership, staff at Best Friends will work with MAC to create an implementation plan and schedule periodic meetings to discuss progress and challenges.
Defining the opportunity McKamey Animal Center has seen significant growth in their lifesaving efforts recently and has expressed the desire to increase operational and field services in hopes of reaching and sustaining a 90 percent save rate.
Demographic information MAC provides sheltering and field services to the city of Chattanooga, Red Bank and Lakesite. The total service area has a population of approximately 194,000 and covers an area of about 152 square miles. The city/county of Chattanooga’s median household income is $45,527 with 20.7 percent of the population living below the poverty line.
Using 2020 as a full-year baseline, the agency took in 5,101 animals. Of those, 2,378 were dogs and 2,723 were cats. The shelter does occasionally take in other species of animals (livestock, wildlife or other non-companion animals), but for the purposes of this assessment, Best Friends focused predominantly on cats and dogs. This number represents a 23 percent decline in cat and dog intake from 2019.
The overall 2020 save rate for dogs and cats for MAC was 82.7 percent. With the goal of achieving a 90 percent save rate, this data indicates a lifesaving gap of 374 dogs and cats who need to be saved in order to achieve that status. Broken down further by species, dogs had a 78.1 percent save rate, with a lifesaving gap of 283 dogs, and cats had a 86.7 percent save rate, with a lifesaving gap of 91.