Broward County animal shelter failing, 208-page audit finds

Report suggests 135 changes for shelter in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward County Commission discussed a new report Tuesday that highlights many inefficiencies at Broward Animal Care and Control, the county-run animal shelter in Fort Lauderdale.

County Auditor Bob Melton produced the 208-page audit report, where he summarizes “that kennel operations do not consistently adhere to best practices and laws. We conclude that programs and processes are not operating effectively.”

Melton goes on to recommend 135 changes he feels are necessary at the facility.

While the audit concludes personnel is adequately trained, it goes on to say the facility is understaffed. Additional staff are needed in kennel operations, clinic services, customer service, and key program positions such as foster, rescue, adoption, return‐to‐field, volunteer, outreach, and information technology, the report said.

The county auditor recommended increasing staff by 29 to 36 full-time employees.

Not enough staffing may be the cause for the inefficiencies in the pet licensing program, which auditors found to be ineffective resulting in approximately $13 million in lost revenues for Broward County.

“We just can’t seem to run the shelter,” said Commissioner Mark Bogen, who has been advocating fixing the shelter and asked for the internal audit.

The report also says customer service calls were inadequately handled. During the time period when the audit was conducted, of the 54,548 calls, 78% went unanswered.

“When I read the report, it made me realize that I had not personally delved into this as much as I needed to,” Commissioner Beam Furr said.

Furr called the report damning.

During public comments, the majority of those on the phone were animal advocates who say the report simply details inefficiencies they have been pointing out for years.

“Nothing has changed in almost 10 years at the shelter,” animal advocate Wendy Schugar-Martin said during the meeting.

Schugar-Martin added there have been three audits and an inspector general report since 2010 and those recommendations have never been implemented.

“The shelter can not do this alone. They have to start reaching out to the community, creating relationships with the community and stop pushing people away,” said Schugar-Martin, who added she believes the facility needs to get back to its core mission: managing homeless and neglected pets in Broward County.

During an exchange with Commissioner Dale Holness, County Administrator Bertha Henry agreed to provide commissioners with detailed, written responses to their inquiries.

“A lot of those things did go wrong. There were some things that went right. We’re not talking about those,” Henry added.

Read the executive summary of the audit below:

Click here to read the entire audit of the animal care and adoption division in Broward County.

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