Help coming for troubled Broward animal-care agency
The Broward County Commission voted unanimously to have an animal control association help it with its animal-care woes.
Posted on Wed, Feb. 27, 2008
BY NATALIE P. McNEAL
Broward County commissioners have hired the National Animal Control Association to help clean up its Animal Care and Regulation Division, which has come under intense scrutiny for dog and cat euthanasia and adoptions.
The Kansas nonprofit organization will be hired for $30,000 to assess the agency's problems, a move county commissioners hope will clean up the battered agency.
The division has come under scrutiny for questionable practices like storing dead animals for days, employees setting aside coveted dogs for friends and using excessive force on animals.
The county has worked toward cleaning up its image, but there is more work that needs to be done, officials said.
NACA, as the agency is called, beat out the Humane Society of the United States in the bidding process.
Animal activists argued that the animal care division should consider a consultant such as Nathan Winograd, director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center in California, who advocates that no healthy animal should be euthanized.
''At least consider another group,'' pleaded Susan Winn, a member of the county's animal care advisory committee, an ad hoc board. ``The animals are suffering.''
In response, Commissioner Ilene Lieberman also directed animal care staff to explore avenues that would result in recommendations to establish a ''no kill'' shelter in Broward County.
''There are animal shelters in the United States that are no-kill facilities,'' Lieberman said. ``I want us to investigate the feasibility of such a facility in Broward County.''
Beth Chavez, acting director of the Animal Care and Regulation Division, said she recommended NACA because it has extensive experience with public shelters. In a county as large as Broward, having a no-kill shelter is not considered practical by many.
''With public shelters, our doors are always open, no matter how many strays come in,'' Chavez said. ``We have unique interests.''
As part of the consultant package, NACA will conduct an on-site study that would would look at details such as hiring practices of the division, treatment of animals and comparisons of the division with other public shelters.