Municipal animal shelters often get the wrong end of the stick reputation-wise, while private shelters such as humane societies and SPCAs are viewed as the top dogs. Sacramento pet lovers, however, have many positive options in both public and private rescue groups.
The City of Sacramento Animal Shelter has recently undergone a facelift of sorts, although in this case no nips and tucks were made in the physical structure. Instead, and more importantly, management is overhauling the whole attitude of the place.
Acting Shelter Manager Gina Knepp has only been in that role since July 2011, but there have already been clear improvements in the shelter’s adoption rate, public image and services to the community.
A free rabies clinic in September brought a long line of customers to the City shelter even an hour before the gates opened. In addition to getting their rabies shots, many pets were licensed and microchipped at the event; these are important steps to getting an animal home safely if it gets lost.
In another example of thinking outside the box, twelve City shelter cats competed in a Jazzy Cats cat show in early October. The two-day show, a sanctioned event held for The International Cat Association (TICA), was attended by 1,000 people. The City cats won 50 awards against seasoned professional show cats, and all twelve cats have been adopted.
The City shelter manager, staff and volunteer have received international acclaim for the health and socialization of the cats that participated in the show. None of the twelve cats had received any special treatment or grooming before the show; they had simply received the same high quality care that the other City shelter cats get.
Click on the video on the left to see some of October’s fun events with the shelter.
Local television station Fox40 does a weekly segment with Knepp to highlight adoptable animals; prior management reportedly declined even positive attention from the media. In addition to increasing adoptions, being regularly featured on local television helps reach more people who may not have been familiar with the shelter previously.
Knepp worked with the Midtown Business Association and the Sacramento Youth Commission to coordinate October’s “Pooch Parade”. The entertaining dog costume contest raised funds for the shelter and helped introduce the City facility’s services to a new and appreciative crowd.
The day before Halloween, Knepp held the first open-house party that had been done at the shelter in a very long time. More than 300 people attended and 25 animals were adopted during the four-hour event.
Under Knepp’s leadership the City shelter found good homes for 183 animals in October; more than a 50% increase over the same period last year.
Having the right people involved proves that a municipal animal shelter truly can get a new leash on life. Woof.
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