Animal Control can mean a number of things to different communities. For most municipalities the Animal Control or Animal Services department deals with wild animals, lost pets, strays and animal welfare. Some communities have their own shelters and some utilize regional ones. The one defining characteristic is that they are face challenging problems.
According to the ASPCA 6.5 million pets enter shelters in the United States every year. Of those 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. Before abandoned pets are adopted out or euthanized someone has to care for them, usually Animal Control personnel and volunteers.
Compare those numbers to the 12,700 people employed as Animal Control officers nationwide according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though there are thousands of volunteers, like the 2,700 serving The Humane Society, that is still a huge divergence in the number of pets abandoned and the number of people working to care for them.
With the high volume of animals surrendered every year, not to mention wild animals and animal abuse cases, efficiency is a necessity in Animal Control departments.
One thing that makes keeping up with the pet population hard is lack of access to data about the pet community. How can increased pet data help animal control officers do their job more effectively?
Determine Where To Focus Work
One of the intended perks of having widespread licensing compliance is that you can understand where pets live in your community. Knowing pet population density, breeds and more is important when you are trying to reunite a lost dog and deploy more resources to better serve the community.
Determine Budgets and Shelter Staff
Does your town need a new shelter? You can usually tell by how overcrowded your current shelter is but another indicator is the number of pets in your community. You may have a higher pet population than neighboring towns and don’t even know it.
Understanding your pet population will also make budgeting easier and more realistic. If you can only account for 20 percent of the dogs in your community then it is hard to make financial decisions for the whole community.
Understand Equipment Needs
Animal Control departments require equipment and supplies to do their job. Sheltering cats is easier because they are all essentially the same size — but what about the dogs? If your community is filled with large dogs you will need larger supplies. Having that information is essential in making these kinds of decisions. Making an effort to increase and enforce pet licensing will aid in collecting this important data and fine tuning it for use.
Understanding the pets in your community can also help Animal Control officers make safety decisions for the community. Having easily accessible data officers can see residents who have been cited in the past and recently licensed a new dog, someone who has licensed multiple dogs and breeds by location.
Say a rabid raccoon has been identified in your community — you will probably want to warn pet owners to keep their dogs indoors. With low licensing rates you will only have the information for a fraction of the animals in your community. If more people licensed their pets this information would be easier to access and far more effective in keeping the community safe.
Municipalities don’t have to sit by and watch licensing laws be ignored!
Switching from your generic municipal software to something modern and comprehensive can boost licensing significantly. Switching to NEXT can allow you to offer different kinds of payments, allow residents to license online and through a mobile app and allow departments to all access the information securely wherever they are. Boost compliance, revenue and cut down on the time spent processing applications!