Pittsburgh Controller audit calls on Bureau of Animal Care and Control to improve operations

Pittsburgh City Comptroller Michael Lamb made nearly two dozen recommendations for improving the city’s Bureau of Animal Care and Control in a performance audit released on Tuesday.

The last audit of the office, which falls under the Ministry of Public Security, was published in 2010.

The office is responsible for providing a variety of services, including capturing stray animals, helping pet owners recover lost animals, and eliminating wildlife that pose potential threats to the community.

The 23 recommendations covered several areas of the day-to-day operations of the office, including collecting live and dead animals, issuing citations for violations, the various software systems used by the office, officer training, and programs for residents of the office. the city.

“The Bureau of Animal Care and Control has an impact on every citizen,” Lamb said. “Between accidents involving vehicles colliding with deer or a loose and beloved domestic animal, AC&C does work that benefits the people who live in the city and those who visit it.”

“We have reviewed each of the recommendations and responded accordingly,” said Lee Schmidt, deputy director of operations and administration at the Department of Public Safety. “We always welcome these audits because they provide an outside perspective on the performance of our service and help improve what we do. “

The audit identified the office’s contract with Humane Animal Rescue as an area of ​​”immediate concern”. Because the city does not currently have its own shelter, the association welcomes stray animals and facilitates the adoption process.

The city has extended its agreement with Humane Animal Rescue in recent years, despite slight cost increases. Because there are no other organizations providing such resources in the area, “the animals would almost certainly suffer” if the city did not continue to make such deals with Human Animal Rescue, officials said.

“As we mentioned in (the office’s) previous audit, the city needs to assess the benefits and costs of building our own shelter,” Lamb said. “The services provided by Humane Animal Rescue are substantial. It is imperative (that the office) does a full cost-benefit analysis.

Humane Animal Rescue has been a partner of the city for about 15 years, said Dan Rossi, CEO of Humane Animal Rescue.

“We have adoption services. We have the capacity to reunite the wanderers. The city needed that side of the service, ”he said. “They didn’t have it easy back then, and they still don’t. It was win-win. We had the extra capacity to help them and that’s how it was born.

Some other cities the same size as Pittsburgh have chosen to build their own shelters, as the audit recommends, Rossi said. He said he knew the city was considering doing the same.

“It makes sense that the city is looking at all of its options,” he said. “If they were to go down this path in the future, we would happily work with them, helping them in any way we can.”

Evaluating the possibility of creating a city-owned shelter is “a very responsible action to take,” Schmidt said.

“This is by no means a reflection on the current contract and relationship with Humane Animal Rescue, but simply to ensure that the department is as efficient and accountable as possible with the taxpayer dollars allocated to our. program, ”he said.

Right now, however, the Bureau of Animal Care and Control is negotiating a new five-year contract with Humane Animal Rescue to expand their partnership, Rossi said. He declined to give details, but said the contract would include slight cost increases for the city.

“I expect this to go off without any problems. There will be no interruption of service, ”he said.

Several findings from the previous audit were true in the updated audit, officials said. The office’s reporting systems are “generally inadequate” and need to be updated, officials said, noting that there are several systems in place that do not communicate with each other, allowing potential human error. The report suggested that the office management work with the city’s innovation and performance department to update and modernize their computer software to streamline their work.

The ministry has been assessing software needs for about six months and is working to respond to recommendations to improve this area of ​​its operations.

The full audit report is available online.

Julia Felton is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, [email protected] or via Twitter .



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