Recipient – Pasco County Animal Services

Pasco County Animal Services

Pasco County Animal Services (PCAS) saw tremendous success, growth, community engagement and achieved new milestones over the last 12 months. The organization, which saw high levels of animal death in the shelter and a horrible reputation within the community as recently as 2013, now serves as a leader locally, regionally, and nationally in progressive animal control and lifesaving efforts. Pasco County Animal Services set off on a mission in 2014 to become a Save 90% (No-Kill) facility and in 2021, have recorded an overall animal save rate of 93.0% while also providing new and exciting programs for citizens and their pets.

Pasco County Animal Services saw one the most progressive movements in organization history in 2021, moving from a shelter solely focused on the institutionalized housing of people’s pets in our facility to a progressive organization dedicated to creating, preserving, and nurturing the human animal bond. PCAS became a tier-one shelter with the Human Animal Support Services organization and as a result, developed dozens of new programs dedicated to keeping people with their pets. PCAS now offers public spay/neuter support, one-time medical injury support, free pet supplies and fence repair, a public pet food pantry and even free boarding for citizens who are housing insecure or became housing insecure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PCAS acquired over $101,000 in grant funding in 2021 to help support these programs and many more. Through the hard work and dedication of the team, hundreds of families were able to keep their pets because of these life changing programs. And best of all, PCAS has worked hard to create sustainability in the operating budget to help continue these programs past the life of the initial grants.

The Field Services team continued their success in community support in 2021. Through efforts of not only the Animal Control Officers but also volunteers, the field team was able to provide trapping support and transportation for over 900 TNVR surgeries this year, a 170% increase as compared to 2020. As like many Animal Control Teams, PCAS Field Services faces low staffing numbers and high demand from the community. In 2021, the PCAS team took this as an opportunity to grow the efforts through the volunteer team, embracing four (4) volunteer roles on the Animal Control team including animal control dispatch volunteers, animal control driving assistants and even animal control volunteer assistants in their own vehicles helping with nuisance calls in the community. As a result, PCAS has been able to share the success of this program with multiple shelters around the country, including a presentation at the annual Best Friends Animal Society conference.

Pasco County Animal Services currently boasts one of the highest save rates for dogs in the state of Florida at 97.00%, despite being tasked with cases involving highly aggressive, sick, injured, and ill animals in our community. Many of these lives saved are a result of tremendous effort from the PCAS team, going above and beyond for animals in need. In 2021, the PCAS veterinary services team added many lifesaving tools including on-site urinalysis, dental x-ray, dental surgical equipment, and even on-site portable ultrasound technology. Through these new additions, the team has been able to lower operating costs and help increase lifesaving in our homeless Pasco pets.

Additionally, we know Pasco County Animal Services could not have achieved all of this success on their own. PCAS has built a network of private shelters, foster based rescues and community advocates to help bolster the animal rescue/transfer program. Humane animal rescue now accounts for over 45.00% of all live outcomes with the organization and has helped reduce the length of stay for animals in the care of the shelter from 27 days just three (3) years ago down to just 3.1 days in 2021. PCAS has sent over 2300 animals to transfer rescue partners in 2021 and continues to keep kennel population below capacity for care even as community demand increases. As a result, PCAS has been able to support other organizations in our area such as Hernando County Animal Services, Polk County Animal Services and Hillsborough County Animal Services, accepting animals in need for adoption or rescue transport. And lastly, the transfer rescue team most recently partnered with the Humane Society of Southern Mississippi to help transfer 50 dogs from the path of Hurricane Ida.

Pasco County Animal Services is constantly looking to grow our mission and share our success, not only in our region but also in our industry. PCAS currently serves as a mentor shelter for Best Friends Animal Society and provides animal control mentoring to shelter around the country. In 2021, PCAS supported shelters in Shelby, Alabama, Peoria, Illinois, Edinburgh, Texas and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The organization’s Director, Mike Shumate, currently sits on the Florida Animal Control Association Board of Directors. And in 2021, the organization’s Assistant Director became just the second person in the country to graduate with a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership and Leadership Studies.

PCAS continues to grow its programs, develop its people, and set an incredible example as a progressive municipal animal control and shelter seeking to fulfill its mission to ensure the health and safety of people and pets in the community by encouraging responsible pet ownership through education, legislation, code enforcement and by providing incentives to sterilize pets.