For the last 25 years, neighborhood conflicts over barking dogs were sometimes referred to the local nonprofit Our Family, which tried to calm tempers with mediation.
The Pima Animal Care Center’s contract with the organization was worth $24,000 last year and, citing minimal impact on citations and complaints since the late 2000s, PACC recently chose to not renew the contract.
“Reviewing five years of ‘barking’ complaints we could demonstrate no decrease in the number of complaints or related citations that correlated in any way with our contract expenditures in this area,” Health Department Director Dr. Francisco Garcia wrote in a July 8 letter.
“Our Family has performed admirably during the tenure of this contract, however we do not find that these services have had a beneficial impact in terms of our workflow, client satisfaction or budget,” the letter concludes.
Our Family has had a positive impact since the early 1990s, one that might not show up in a review of data since 2009 or 2010, said Lisa Reams, its interim CEO. Additionally, without mediation services neighborhood conflicts over barking dogs could escalate, leading to costly retaliatory complaints to other county departments, Reams said.
“We understand the fiscal situation. We’re not mad at (the county),” she said. “It’s just unfortunate that something that has been cut is something that was valuable for neighbors for 25 years.”
In fiscal year 2016, 193 cases were referred to Our Family and 93 complainants opted for mediation.
PACC will tell those who complain about the services offered by Our Family, but costs will have to be covered by parties to the complaint.