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Feb. 8, 2019: Community update with statistics from January 2019

I am thrilled to share with the community our most recent progress report. This past January, we achieved a live release rate of 90.3% and we found new homes for 99 pets. Those are the statistics I’m really happy about. As our live release rate has increased, we need help from citizens and our rescue organizations more than ever. Your partnership will ensure that we find loving homes for all the animals in our care.

We have started the process of reaching out to local rescue organizations to get feedback on our operations and services. I look forward to meeting with our rescue organizations to improve the trust and collaboration between our agencies, and to incorporate your feedback into our planning and process improvements.

We’ve also focused on promoting adoptions through Facebook and community events, and we will be hosting a special free adoption event on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. here at the shelter. A generous sponsor has donated to cover license fees so all adoptions will be 100% free at this event. I’m looking forward to finding homes for all of our adoptable pets!

Please take a look at our detailed progress report, as well as our January 2019 statistics. I welcome the community’s input and feedback.

Robert Gruhl
Interim Director
Animal Resource Center
(937) 898-4457

 ARC Community Update Graphic 02.08.19  ARC Progress Report 02.08.19_
 January 2019 statistics February 8, 2019 progress report

Jan. 11, 2019: Community update with statistics from December 2018

While I have only been the director at the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center for about a month, I am so grateful for the outpouring of support and the earnest suggestions to improve the health and well-being of the animals in our care and those who care for them.

We have made enormous progress in a short period of time, but we still have plenty of work to do. I am truly looking forward to 2019 and seeing the full transformation, which has already begun, here at the shelter.

Please take a look at our detailed progress report, as well as our December 2018 statistics. Our live release rate was up to 89.9%! We also made progress on many of the recommendations put forward by Team Shelter USA. I hope you are encouraged by the progress being made when you review this report. I am committed to communicating proactively with the community on the changes being made in our operations and outreach.

Thank you!

Robert Gruhl
Interim Director
Animal Resource Center
(937) 898-4457

 ARC Community Update Graphic 1.11.19  ARC Progress Report 1.11.19 thumbnail
 December 2018 statistics January 11, 2019 progress report

Dec. 23, 2018: Team Shelter USA Final Report & Progress Report

In October, Montgomery County announced a comprehensive strategy to evaluate all levels of operations at the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. The goal of this strategy was to improve shelter operations, increase our live release rate, and ensure that our services met the needs and expectations of our community.

As part of this strategy, Montgomery County hired Team Shelter USA to conduct an objective, independent best practice review of the shelter because we heard the concerns of our citizens and animal welfare advocates. We are committed to being transparent with the community about this process and sharing this report is a step in the right direction. The final report is now available here: Team Shelter USA Final Report: Montgomery County Animal Resource Center

The Commissioners and I were troubled and dismayed by the overall findings of this report. We care deeply about the well-being of people and pets in our community. We have made improving the Animal Resource Center and increasing our live release rate a top priority for our administration.

During this review, it became clear that the Animal Resource Center needed new leadership and direction. The County Commissioners took immediate action and appointed Bob Gruhl as Interim Director of the Animal Resource Center to improve overall shelter operations and ensure that the best practices recommended in this report are fully implemented. We trust Bob Gruhl’s ability to spearhead this effort.

We have already made progress on the 30 emergency action items listed in this report, which were provided by Team Shelter USA during their final review meeting, as well as updated our jurisdiction cat contracts and our euthanasia policy. Please click here to view a comprehensive progress report. Highlights from the progress report include:

  • Discontinuation of routine temperament testing
  • New protocols that ensure the adoption area is full at all times
  • Implementation of fee waived adoptions until further notice ($20 dogs, $10 cats)
  • Elimination of physical exams and fecal tests by vet staff unless there is a clear medical need, which will help speed up intake/adoption process
  • Fast tracking hiring for open positions to ensure appropriate staffing levels to implement best practices
  • Creation of new outreach coordinator to focus on working with rescue organizations and on adoption
  • Change in cat control contracts with jurisdictions to transition to Return to Field (trap/spay/neuter/release) programs in the jurisdictions

 We are committed to sharing frequent updates with the community as we continue to implement all of these recommendations.

Michael B. Colbert
Montgomery County Administrator


Nov. 27, 2018: Team Shelter USA Public Meeting "Animal Shelter Best Practices"

Team Shelter
USA is assessing Montgomery County's Animal Resource Center from November 26-30. After the assessment, Team Shelter will provide a written report to the ARC with suggestions to both reduce intake at the shelter and increase the live release rate of animals who are taken into the center. Dr. Sara Pizano created Team Shelter USA, and her team includes Dr. Becca Boronat of the Charleston SC Animal Society, Cameron Moore from the University of Florida, and Dr. Kim Sanders of Anderson County (SC) PAWS.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Pizano held a community presentation on Team Shelter's processes and the methods they've used to increase the live release rate in other communities, including Waco, Texas; Campbell County, Kentucky; Murray County, Georgia; and Anderson County, South Carolina.

Strategies to increase live release rates include: coalition building, targeted spay/neuter programs, community-minded enforcement, and managed admissions to the shelter, which including finding ways to help pet owners keep pets in their homes or helping an owner place a pet directly into another home.
Pizano's PowerPoint presentation is available for download in PDF format:

Animal Welfare Best Practice Presentation-52