The partnership of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter and the Coastal Humane Society will become a permanent partnership the first of the year, according to Joe Montisano, executive director of the Coastal Humane Society. This announcement was made Wednesday, Oct. 21, during an informational meeting at the Board Room in Boothbay Harbor.
“On or about Jan. 1, 2016, we will go forward as one, serving the public together,” Montisano told the group gathered at the meeting.
Although the event was announced as an informational meeting, it was also the celebration of the two organizations joining forces in the care of animals.
In July, the Lincoln County Animal Shelter and the Coastal Humane Society entered into a four-month management agreement following the Lincoln County Animal Shelter’s forensic audit, which indicated seven years of record-keeping shortcomings for the Lincoln County shelter.
According to Montisano, the two groups have worked very hard the past four months. He commended the Lincoln County Animal Shelter staff and volunteers for doing double duty and not saying a word. “Lincoln County did a lot of things right, and are to be commended for their dedication and for the passion we all share for animals,” Montisano said.
During the presentation, Lincoln County Animal Shelter Vice President Lucy Harrington said the partnership would be best for both organizations.
Lincoln County Animal Shelter Treasurer Matthew Goetting said, because of this partnership, the future is brighter for the animals and for both organizations. He also commended Montisano for his hard work in making the partnership happen.
According to Goetting, as it appears at this time, the Lincoln County Animal Shelter will maintain its name, as will the Coastal Humane Society, under the new partnership.
During the presentation, Dr. Mandie Wehr, the director of operations and veterinarian at both facilities, said the adoption policy has changed. Instead of a six-page adoption application to be filled out, staff is interviewing applicants to better match pets to the people’s lifestyles. Having the ability to move animals from one facility to the other is also an asset in the adoption process.
Wehr said she is excited about the merger between the two organizations. To date, a new manager and assistant manager have been placed at Lincoln County Animal Shelter. This will allow the shelter to focus on the daily care of animals and help the shelter find new ways to approach animal care.
According to Wehr, this change has led to great improvements to the overall experience that the animals have while at the shelter and it gives the staff more time to spend with the animals.
The staff is also working toward expanding the volunteer program, building a foster program, and seeking humane education opportunities.
They have also implemented Pet-Point at Lincoln County Animal Shelter, which is a shelter-specific software that allows the animals to be tracked from the time they are taken into the shelter through their medical care and all the way to adoption. The software will allow the shelter to gain a better assessment of the animals in care and to manage the population more efficiently.
“Moving forward with the merger, we hope to continue with the changes we currently have in motion and expand on the experience that animals, staff, and community members have at Lincoln County Animal Shelter and Coastal Humane Society,” Wehr said.
According to Montisano, the memorandum of understanding that established the partnership between the organizations will be extended until the two organizations integrate around the first of the year. The organizations are actively working on the details of their integration.
The Lincoln County Animal Shelter will maintain its own manager and assistant manager and fundraising for the two organizations will largely remain independent, he said.
Lincoln County Animal Shelter’s current board of directors will become a committee and two members will be invited to join Coastal Humane Society’s board to ensure Lincoln County Animal Shelter is represented, Montisano said.
Montisano will become the executive director for both organizations. Administrative functions such as development, marketing, budgeting, and programming will be provided through Coastal Humane Society, he said.
“We’ll be able to provide all those executive functions that Lincoln County Animal Shelter currently doesn’t have,” Montisano said.