Embracing Change in Broken Arrow

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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Broken Arrow Animal Shelter Evolves

By Bria Bolton Moore / Photos by Foshay Photography

 

Jacko, a male Labrador/Mastiff mix puppy, is crouched in a pouncing position, eyes fixated on the camera, or maybe on who is behind the camera? It’s Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, and Jacko is just one of the 33 animals currently available for adoption at the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter.

Throughout the past year, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter, located at 4121 E. Omaha St., has made a change to ensure that animals like Jacko are not only provided with food, medical attention and shelter, but also a permanent home.

“I was raised in the country. I’m a cowboy at heart and grew up with animals. So, I’ve always cared about animals and their well-being,” says Animal Control Director Larry Dampf. He has been with the shelter since 2003 and served as the director for eight years, seeing the shelter through its recent changes.

Dampf says a lot of the developments came after the shelter moved from a 5,500 square-foot building to its current 13,500 square-foot shelter in August of 2011. With new space, came new opportunity.

New Policies and Procedures

Up until about a year and a half ago, those who adopted a pet from the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter signed a Sterilization Agreement, essentially promising that they would get their new pet spayed or neutered. New pet owners would pay a deposit, get their animals sterilized, and  then the City would refund the deposit back to them. Now, however, pets are spayed or neutered before they’re handed over to their new owners.

“There are a lot of factors that go into the spay and neuter program,” says Dampf, who had been envisioning a different process for more than a decade. “You have to have the vet; you have to have the funding; you have to have the facility. But it’s always been on the radar that we wanted to implement and have every animal spayed or neutered.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are about six to  eight million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year in the United States. Unfortunately, barely half of them  are adopted.

“Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth  control for dogs and cats,” according to the Humane Society.

“The last thing we want to do is contribute back to shelter over-crowding,” Dampf says. “Through the spay and neuter program, we’re helping to decrease those numbers     in shelters.”

In an effort to better serve its patrons, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter changed its business hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, to 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday.

“We found that the public really couldn’t get off work and be here at 4 o’clock,” Dampf says. ”Now, it’s easier for them to be able to get here and do business with the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter, which is a real plus.”

Dampf said the shelter has also hired an on-staff veterinarian consultant who comes in on a weekly basis to oversee the health of the animals. Additionally, the shelter  spent $12,000 on new software to track animals under its care, record adoptions   and much more.

The shelter also made a change to how it euthanizes animals. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized annually in shelters, according to the Humane Society.

About a year ago, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter got rid of its gas chamber, which was used for euthanasia. The shelter now only uses injection to put animals down.

Interested in Adopting?

Unfortunately, there’s never a shortage of furry friends waiting for their turn to go “home.” Here’s how pet adoption works at the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter:

  1. Visit the shelter, and fill out a questionnaire about the type of pet you’re seeking.
  2. Browse the dogs and cats available for adoption. Spend some time with your potential pet in a “get acquainted room.” While animals surrendered to the shelter are available for adoption immediately, stray animals are kept for five days before they are available for adoption.
  3. When you find the pet that’s right for you, fill out the paperwork and pay the $60 adoption fee, which includes spay or neuter, rabies shot and the five-in-one (includes Parvo, Distemper, Bordatella, etc.).
  4. Pick up your pet the following day after its spay or neuter procedure.

Photos of animals available for adoption can be viewed online at baanimalshelter.com and now also on www.tulsapetsmagazine.com.

All of the shelter’s recent changes point to one thing: the shelter’s desire to serve the people and animals of Broken Arrow.

“Every shelter worker is burdened with saving animals,” Dampf says. “It becomes  the responsibility of the shelter staff to take care of the animal, house him, feed him and then expend every opportunity and every avenue to find another home for that animal.”

Dampf says the shelter will continue to evolve to best serve the Broken Arrow community and find permanent homes for animals like Jacko.

“We must provide the kind of service and care for animals that is needed,” he says, “that is through continued education and making sure that all our processes and business model are up to date.”

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