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The Click of a Button

November 11, 2018

Life in a cage is no life at all.

But there’s hope for local shelter animals. Thanks to a new system at Floyd County PAWS, animals can now be adopted a lot quicker and staff can be more efficient with their time.

In the past, when someone wanted to adopt an animal from the Floyd County shelter, they’d drive to the facility, wait in line then fill out paperwork for the dog or cat they wanted to take home.

Shelter staff would then turn around and enter all that information in the system before the dog could be released.

“That process took around 10 to 15 minutes per person,” said animal control officer Jeff Mitchell. “And that’s not including the wait time.”

Mitchell said people would come in to adopt but the wait would be too much for them and they’d simply leave.

But about six months ago, PAWS got a new software system called Animal Shelter Manager that helps to streamline the adoption process. Visitors to PAWS, and potential adopters, can use a tablet to fill out their adoption form and answer simple questions with a single touch. Then can sign and pay digitally.

“Now the process takes about two minutes,” Mitchell said. “It’s so much easier for someone trying to adopt an animal.

But it’s not just easier for the public.

PAWS staff can do their jobs a lot more efficiently since they don’t have to sit there and key in all the information a visitor has just filled out on a form. All the information is entered automatically into the system from the tablet.”

“This makes it possible for us to do multiple adoptions at once,” Mitchell said. “And when people are done we can simply email or print out the paperwork they need.”

The system streamlines surrenders, adoptions and even helps Animal Control officers out in the field.

Mitchell demonstrated on his cell phone how the new software also has an app that officers can use to take information and immediately upload photos of animals instead of having to email photos back to the office to be uploaded.

They can keep track of citations and transfers of various animals all at the click of a button.

And through the system as well as the app, PAWS staff can easily search for animals in the system.

“So for example if someone wants to know if we picked up their dog that ran away from home in Silver Creek or in Armuchee or in Lindale,” he said. “We can look up all the dogs picked up in that area. All those photos and that information pops up for us to see.”

The software can store and recall any information an adopter would need such as behavior assessments. And it even alerts PAWS staff if a person is not allowed to adopt.

“We can’t possibly remember every single person that comes in over the years,” Mitchell said. “This system will alert our staff if someone who comes in trying to adopt is not allowed to do so. That helps protect the animals. We might not remember a person like that but the system reminds us of it.”

And in the age of social media, the new system allows PAWS staff to upload animal’s photos and information to a variety social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram immediately as well as to various online adoption sites.

One of the first real tests of the new system was scheduled for Saturday when PAWS staff planned to take vetted and adoptable animals to the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds for Veterans Day services. They planned to take tablets which any veteran or other visitor could use to adopt an animal and take it home without having to drive to the shelter.

“This really makes the intake and the adoption processes more streamline,” Mitchell said. “Visitors and adopters have a quicker more pleasant experience and our staff is able to work more efficiently. That all will add up to hopefully a lot more animals being adopted. It’s still only been a few months in place but the efficiency has already been tremendous.”

Floyd County PAWS is located at 99 N. Ave. in Rome for those who would like to visit and see the animals available for adoption. Through Nov. 15, adoption fees will be waived for those who bring a new, unwrapped present which will benefit Toys For Tots.

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