City Auditor recommends community vision and improved management oversight for animal health and public safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 30, 2017
The City Auditor’s Office on Wednesday released on audit of the Animal Health and Public Safety Division (AHPS). The audit, which was directed by the City Council, focused on the division’s effectiveness in enforcing ordinances and achieving desired outcomes with operations and employee training.
The audit concluded that AHPS’s focus on enforcement of animal-related code violations versus educating owners and resolving violations in the field is not always successful in achieving improved animal welfare and public safety. The audit also determined that AHPS and KC Pet Project (KCPP), which provides shelter services for the city, have a strained relationship, poor communication, and a lack of trust which interferes with their ability to collaborate. A shared vision of how the city will protect the public and animals is needed to direct animal care and control activities of both organizations toward common goals.
The auditors determined that AHPS is not enforcing the city’s dangerous dog registration and licensing requirements and is not consistently following up on some confirmed bite cases to ensure animals are quarantined. Cruelty-neglect complaints and violations do not always receive required follow-up and in some cases, follow-up is not required to ensure violations are fixed. In addition, staff does not consistently document investigations according to division policy.
AHPS does not fully use or analyze the data it collects to manage or report its activities. Auditors determined that AHPS officers received training on most recommended topics, but does not always receive annual training.
The audit includes recommendations to help ensure animal welfare and public safety by improving the working relationship between AHPS and KCPP; establishing a shared vision of animal care and control; implementing policies and practices to remediate animal code violations consistently and document cases; analyzing performance data; and providing consistent and ongoing training. The director of neighborhoods and housing services agreed with the recommendations.