Mesquite Assistant City Manager Raymond Rivas presented the City Council with the Mesquite Animal Services (MAS) five-year strategic plan during Tuesday night’s pre-meeting.
An overview of the 2015-16 strategic plan goals included improving ability for staff to locate animal owners and reduce the average length of stay at the shelter, change impound fees to encourage responsible pet ownership and provide opportunities to educate the public on responsible pet ownership. The plan also proposes to increase the shelter live release rate to 90 percent or higher, reduce the number of unwanted litters, strays and nuisance animals impounded, have the ability to provide sterilization and rabies vaccination to adoptable animals inside the shelter, provide a convenient space for residents to visit and adopt pets, increasing holding capacity for adoptable animals, and promote a positive adoption experience for residents.
Rivas said they’ve been able to accomplish a number of these goals over the past few years, including the live release rate.
He said that last year MAS had a little over 6,000 animals come through. He noted that the number of cats has declined, and some of that can be attributed to their programs such as Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR).
“There’s been a slight uptick in 2018. Staff can attribute as best as we can, (that it) is probably due to our unattending tethering ordinance,” he said.
Mesquite Animal Services' save rate has seen a steady increase. In 2012 the save rate was 40.90 percent, and last year it was 93.34 percent. The steady increase can be seen starting in 2015 after the last strategic plan was created.
“If you have a good plan this gives you a good direction, a good goal to set your eyes on for making anything from budgetary decisions to making staffing decisions, as well as how you’re allocating resources,” Rivas said.
He also noted that MAS achieved 24 consecutive months with a save rate of 90 percent or greater, increased partnerships with rescue organizations, and strengthening existing programs that impact the shelters' save rate.
“There are not a lot of shelters our size that take in over 6,000 animals that can actually tout this type of numbers,” he added.
Their new strategic goals include achieving and sustaining a 95 percent save rate, expanding the animal shelter to increase capacity for impounded animals, develop and implement a community education program, modernize the animal services ordinance, regulations and policies, and evaluate and align staff based on demonstrated need.
Rivas stated that their next steps is to review the strategic plan and goals with MAS Advisory Board, create a focus group to review and revise Chapter 4 ordinance, review current MAS staffing structure to align with future goals, and continue to analyze data and comparisons with local and similarly sized municipalities to project for future growth. They will also craft detailed action plans for each of the 22 objectives with measurable steps and timelines with the five-year cycle of the plan.