April 16 was the monthly meeting of the MADACC operations committee as well as the bi-annual meeting of the entire board of MADACC. The meeting was held at West Allis City Hall, a nice change with more seating and a bigger room. Below are some of the highlights of the meeting, but I really encourage you to attend for yourself.
I have been attending these meetings for a year, and I have to say that this is the first meeting where positive energy from the committee seemed to resonate through the room. As a colleague of mine said: in the past they could have been talking about nuts and bolts instead of animals.
I'll cover the highlights of the bi-annual meeting first. The board of directors of MADACC is governed by one representative of each of the nineteen municipalities that MADACC serves. There is also an alternate board member for each municipality The following communities were NOT represented at the meeting. If you live in one of these communities I suggest that you contact your local municipality and ask why neither the board member nor the alternate board member cared enough to attend. MADACC is run by your tax dollars and your municipality should show an interest in how your money is being spent.
Elections were also held for the operating committee and except for the addition of Chris Swartz from Shorewood, the remaining members of the operating committee either held their position or played musical chairs. Wauwatosa, West Allis and Milwaukee have permanent slots on the operating committee because of their size.
The new operating committee is as follows:
Ron Hayward, President (West Milwaukee, formerly the President)
Don Schaewe, Vice President (Milwaukee, formerly the Secretary)
Derek Summerfield, Secretary (Wauwatosa, formerly a member of the Operating committee)
Paul Ziehler, Treasurer (West Allis, formerly the Treasurer)
Mike Weber, Hales Corner
Chris Swartz, Shorewood
Eric Pearson, Milwaukee
At the regular monthly Operations Committee four members of the public spoke:
- David Mangold, Save Milwaukee's Court Case Dogs. David asked for an update on the Court Case Dogs and offered to work with MADACC regarding any fundraising or public support that might be needed.
- Kelly Herbold, Milwaukee Animal Alliance. Kelly had positive comments about the new Homestretch foster program; a collaboration between MADACC and Wisconsin Humane Society
- Marissa Kraft, Milwaukee Animal Alliance. Marissa had positive comments about the daily emails that Karen sends to AWARE highlighting animals in need of placement
- Pam Hoderman, Pam asked about Tim Carpenter's visit to MADACC and any thoughts or input on Senator Carpenter's new anti-cruelty bill that is being introduced.
Highlights of Karen Sparapani's (MADACC Executive Director) Operational Report:
Intake is down but transfers are also down. (I am waiting on the statistics to be put on the website. I will post them when they are available).
The Homestretch Foster Program is underway. Wisconsin Humane Society is subsidizing all of the costs of the program. Donations of food and cat litter are appreciated. This program will help save lives because it will give the animals a short term foster home to overcome any illness while they are waiting for a spot on the adoption floor at WHS.
The MADACC volunteer program is being revamped to include more hands-on volunteer positions. Watch for the updates on the website in the near future.
The first public listening session will be held on May 1 at 6 p.m. at the Wauwatosa Library in the Firefly room. This is your chance to meet Karen and the Wauwatosa board member, as well as to have any questions you may have about MADACC answered. Please submit your questions in advance to email@example.com so that Karen has time to research the answer. Karen hopes to host one of these listening sessions in each of the 19 municipalities that MADACC serves. This will also generate more awareness about MADACC within these communities.
Lorraine Sweeny, previously from Elmbrook Humane Society, has been hired as the Shelter Supervisor (replacing Kevin Wilkens). One of her first priorities will be to change some of the cleaning protocols so that more animals remain healthy during their stay at MADACC. Karen hopes to implement a "Day 8 mentality", whereby as many animals as possible have a plan for transfer or foster as soon as their stray hold is up. The first priority, of course, will be to reunite lost pets with their owners. MADACC was never designed to be a long term holding facility, and by transferring more animals out sooner; many lives can be saved. Lorraine's other duties will include behavior evaluations and developing relationships with placement partners.
The outdoor kenneling will be used for events this summer on Saturday morning. Watch for more details on this.
Karen gave a brief update on the Court Case dogs. There is a new District Attorney on the case and there is still hope that charges will be pressed against the owners so they do not reclaim their dogs. Karen has been in touch with Dr. Reid of the ASPCA who is willing to lend a hand when the time is right.
Senator Carpenter's is still hoping for bi-partisan support of his bill to change the process by which seized dogs are handled. Currently, all of the co-sponsors have been Democrats.
These are only a few brief highlights of the meeting. Again, I would encourage you all to take the time to attend the meetings and the listening sessions to show your support for Karen and Milwaukee County's animals.