Multnomah County Auditor Steve March today released the results of the follow-up to a 2016 audit that found problems with the county's animal services operation.

The audit finds few bright spots.
“Significant improvements were made to the layout of the shelter and to provide animal control officers access to criminal background information for fieldwork,” March wrote to the county commissioners.
“On the other hand, data tracking problems, limited behavioral documentation for some animals being released, inconsistent animal enrichment, and barriers to reuniting people and their pets all remain as areas of concern,” the audit says. “In addition, many of the recommendations from previous audit remain only partially completed or not completed.”

Among the recommendations from the 2016 audit that have not been followed: the development of a searchable online database that would allow the public to track their missing pets; and, perhaps more importantly, maintaining adequate staffing levels for proper care of the animals. Auditors found the shelter is still failing to meet national staffing standards two-thirds of the time.

“Animal Services management told us that their vision for staffing will lead to improved care,” the follow-up audit report says. “But during this follow-up, it did not appear that this vision had translated into practice.”

Auditors also expressed concern about animal services process for deciding whether an animal is safe for adoption and its record-keeping for animals that were euthanized.

Kim Peoples, the county’s director of community services, noted that animal services staff had addressed some of the 2016 concerns. But he did not dispute the new audit findings.

“We acknowledge that some areas continue to need attention and improvement,” Peoples wrote in a response.