Markham is taking steps to better its animal service offerings for residents.
A storefront for residents that could include pet adoptions and a revamped pet licensing program were included in this week’s review of the city’s animal services contract with the OSPCA.
The review, conducted by DPRA Canada, comes after the city opted to extend its animal services contract with the agency last year.
“I want to be clear, this is an overview of Markham’s cost effectiveness and long-term animal services plan. This is not an operational review of the OSPCA,” said Joe Pittari, principal and board member of DPRA Canada. Mr. Pittari is now Vaughan’s strategic and corporate services commissioner.
One of the ways to improve animal services is a proposed animal services storefront, where residents can get information about the city’s pet services. There could also be space for adoption clinics as well.
Councillor Valerie Burke also wants to see more attention paid to the city’s wildlife services.
“Public confidence in the OSPCA — that is a fragile thing. We can’t be afraid to have fingers pointed at us,” said Ms Burke, also the city’s chairperson for the animal care advisory committee.
The city currently contracts out its animal control services to the OSPCA, compared to other municipalities, which operate their own animal control services and shelter.
Under Markham’s contract, the OSPCA is responsible for citywide patrols, animal cruelty investigations, pet surrenders and adoptions, pet licensing programs, pet loss programs, complaint investigations and limited wildlife services.
But when the city tried to renew its contract with the animal agency, some residents balked at the idea due to its history.
The report did find several shortcomings, including lack of communication between the city and the shelter, lack of available information from the agency, such as financial and operational data and business processes, as well as the lack of proper reporting on financial issues, euthanasia and adoption rates, investigations and prosecutions and education activities.