AUBURN, Calif. — Placer County Animal Services received an award from the California State Association of Counties, the organization announced this week. The CSAC awards spotlight the most innovative programs developed and implemented by California counties.
Animal Services began working with PetSmart in 2019 to adopt cats offsite at the company’s Auburn store. As one of the only municipal shelters in the state to pursue this type of public-private partnership with PetSmart, county staff have also found unique ways to streamline technology and protocols to cross-promote adoptions at both the shelter and store. After four years, more than 850 cats and kittens have been adopted from PetSmart as part of this partnership – almost 30% of the county’s total cat adoptions.
“Although we save more than 93 percent of our cats and kittens, finding creative ways to move cats out of the shelter faster and increase adoption rates is essential to maintaining a successful cat program,” said program manager Katie Ingram. “We appreciate PetSmart’s ongoing partnership and are glad to see this program highlighted as a statewide model.”
Earlier this year, the same program received an achievement award from the National Association of Counties, or NACo. One additional program within the Health and Human Services department also received an achievement award, a program from the Human Services division that helped improve access to benefits for homeless clients with complex needs including mental illness.
“This recognition by our counterparts across the state and nation highlight just how forward-thinking our department really is,” said HHS Director Dr. Rob Oldham. “I commend our staff and our community partners who have been critical to this work.”
Finally, two pandemic-era public relations campaigns that HHS helped coordinate – a rental assistance enrollment campaign and a multilingual COVID-19 harm reduction campaign – received recognition this year from both the California Association of Public Information Officials and the California Capital chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The latter campaign was recognized in both organizations’ inaugural diversity, equity and inclusion awards categories. Key partners on these campaigns included the Placer Community Foundation, local community-based organizations and Prosio Communications.
“We are grateful to have partnered with Placer County HHS on these campaigns and are especially appreciative of the numerous nonprofit partners that facilitated the outreach and canvassing activities,” said Veronica Blake, CEO of the Placer Community Foundation. “We are humbled and honored by the togetherness and commitment to community. We believe we achieved in the greatest unseen reward: countless seniors, families and essential workers whose lives were better protected and supported during a devastating virus.”