Kenton County Animal Services is reorganizing to be open seven days a week.
According to the reorganization plan, this new structure will help solve issues like an increased need for medical assistance within the shelter, decreasing overtime and burnout among staff. The plan also points to improving safety by addressing animal behavior concerns. The animal shelter shared they hope the new hours will allow them to increase community reach and create consistency.
The shelter’s new hours will be Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The current hours are Monday and Tuesday, noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday noon to 4 p.m., Thursday and Friday, noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Sunday.
Director of Animal Services Kelsey Maccombs said the current hours are “a mess,” and consistency in hours will better serve the community.
The expanded hours will be contingent on hiring and training new positions. Maccombs said she hopes to start the new hours as early as Nov. 1, but her hard deadline is Jan. 1.
This proposed reorganization includes hiring a canine behavior coordinator to handle training for shelter staff and volunteers to help create a safer work environment and ensure public safety.
“It’s amazing to me that there are folks specialized in animal behavior and that we can utilize that expertise to really make sure folks get the right pet,” Kenton County Commissioner Beth Sewell said. “So they’re not returning them a week later.”
The shelter is hiring for two other positions: a part-time veterinary assistant and a full-time shelter technician.
Maccombs told the Kenton County Fiscal Court in a presentation on Sept. 14 that this new approach was people-centric.
“It’s common to hear that someone works in the industry because they hate people and love animals; However, my approach to this work is people-centric,” Maccombs said. “For every animal that we see that was neglected or hurt or abused, there are so many people who step up.”
The new reorganization will allow shelter staff to work a schedule of four 10-hour days. Maccombs said this would help increase a work/life balance and boost employee retention.
“The people-centric approach to animal services is nothing without taking care of our own,” Maccombs said. “Without the incredible team we have, this agency could not be nearly as successful.”
Maccombs said animal intake is up both in Kenton County and regionally.
Sewell asked if the shelter has seen an influx of animals being returned to the shelter post-COVID-19.
Maccombs said while the shelter hasn’t seen many returns, she speculates the increased intake is from people returning to in-person work and inflation.