This is the speech I delivered at the Irving City Council meeting tonight regarding the budget that’s currently in the works.
I started volunteering with Irving Animal Services in 2010 when the new Irving Animal Care Campus opened. As a volunteer, I assist with adoptions and help train new volunteers. I was appointed to the Animal Services Advisory Committee in 2012, and I currently serve as chairperson. I’m here tonight to advocate for an increase in the animal services budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.
In the first 6 months of FY 2016-2017, IAS boasted a live release rate of 90% despite taking in over 400 animals per month on average. Thanks to the amazing shelter staff and field officers, IAS is 2nd in the area in animal save rate, just behind Plano. This means that the vast majority of animals coming into the shelter are returned to their owners, adopted, or rescued than are euthanized. While we’re leading the pack in helping animals, we are way behind in funding this cause. Irving is near the bottom of the funding list, spending just $7 per capita, where our neighbors Grand Prairie and Richardson spend around $8 and $9 per resident, respectively. If our vision truly is to “aspire to be a city prepared and educated to assure a safe, healthy, and caring environment for its people and animals,” then we need to do more to ensure that, and that means including the proposed supplements in the new budget. I can’t help but be amazed by how effective this staff is and wonder how much more awesome they could be if they were provided more resources.
The proposed addition of new staff and reclassification of current staff would be worthwhile in advancing the “no-kill” standard that the city desires to achieve. IAS’s mission is to “promote and protect the health, safety, and welfare of Irving residents and animals.” Adding an outreach coordinator would go a long way in supporting this mission through maintaining relations with rescue groups and fosters and communicating low-cost opportunities and other resources to residents. Reclassifying current staff would reinforce just how valuable we consider their contributions to the shelter to be.
Please consider this information as you finalize your work on the new budget and do your best to allocate as much as possible in new funds to Irving Animal Services. The staff and animals deserve it!