The Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association received mostly positive reviews and hundreds of suggestions on how it could improve in a recent community survey.
The Greenbrier Street animal shelter asked the public to weigh in on its services and answer a host of questions about their experiences at the facility. The shelter was available online and shelter staff used Facebook to promote it. More than 500 people participated and ranged in age from 18 to 81.
Of those who have adopted an animal from the shelter in the past, 62 percent said they would adopt from there again.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they've had a "good" or "excellent" experience. Thirty-one percent said their experiences were "fair." Just 9 percent rated their experience as poor.
The survey also asked about the shelter's reputation in the community. Those results were more mixed.
Forty-two percent said the shelter has either a poor or fair image in the community, while 39 percent said its reputation was either good or excellent.
Many respondents included comments with their answers. Several complained that staff members were either unfriendly or unhelpful.
"Try to ensure that the people who work there actually like animals," one person wrote.
Some said the shelter sends animals to out-of-area rescue groups before locals have the time to consider them for adoption.
"I wonder if you are sending some of the most adoptable pets to the rescue groups too soon," one person wrote. "I understand they are extremely helpful, but I think you should hold them for local adoption for at least two weeks and give the local people (WV) first choice. Even a full week would help."
Others suggested allowing potential adopters to fill out paperwork online. Some said the shelter could be cleaner.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents were women. Current pet owners comprised 96 percent of the survey pool. Only 9 percent were current dues-paying members of the association.
The shelter has undergone several changes in recent weeks.
Longtime director Donna Pauley resigned in late August, along with two board members and Vice President Kim Hutton.
Chelsea Staley, who co-founded rescue advocacy organization Dog Bless and began working at the shelter in the spring, is serving as interim director. Five new board members were elected in June, most of whom were affiliated with Staley's organization.
Results are available at http://tinyurl.com/jwh2wtl