Pima County Supervisors Give $120,000 Grant to Aid Pima Animal Care Center Outreach

The Pima County Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 21 meeting voted 5-0 to approve a $120,000 grant to the County Communications Office from Friends of Pima Animal Care Center for a year-long Spanish-language marketing and outreach campaign.

PACC data indicates that two zip codes — 85706 and 85713 – have the largest imbalance in the number of pets coming into the shelter and the number of pets being adopted, fostered or returned to their owners.

The Communications Office, together with Pima Animal Care Center, will launch a campaign using language, idioms and graphics that resonate with Spanish-speakers. Census data from 2020 show that the two targeted ZIP codes have a large number of Spanish-speaking households, which is why the County hopes to increase awareness of PACC’s services and resources among this community.

Monica Dangler, PACC’s director of animal services, said that the Spanish-language campaign will be a first for the shelter.

“We know everyone in Pima County loves their pets,” Dangler said. “We are hopeful that utilizing a more diverse messaging strategy will help keep more pets with the families who love them.”

The Communications Office and PACC will be working together with schools, businesses, churches, and community organizations to help spread awareness and recognition of PACC and the services they are able to provide.

On top of messaging, PACC will also host community events in the targeted areas to offer microchips, collars and tags and pet supplies like food, bowls, beds and crates.

The campaign will launch in January 2024 and is slated to last through the end of November 2024.

“I think I speak for all of PACC’s leadership when I say we are very excited to see this campaign launch,” Dangler said.

The Communications Office developed the data-driven campaign and pitched it to Friends of PACC and to Dangler in an attempt to find new messaging pathways to increase awareness of PACC’s numerous services and programs that help keep pets in loving homes.

“Since the pandemic, PACC’s census has been at or near crisis levels. Constant public appeals to adopt and foster on social media, and repeated news releases have desensitized the public to the problems associated with an overly full shelter,” said Communications Office Director Mark B. Evans. “This is a pilot project to try to go beyond the usual communications methods and essentially bring PACC to the community. If it’s successful, we hope to use the results to seek further funding to expand its reach to other areas of the County with similar intake and outcome imbalances.”

Because the targeted 85706 and 85713 ZIP codes have 62 percent and 47 percent Spanish-speaking households, the campaign will be conducted primarily in Spanish.

“In designing this campaign, we’ve acknowledged the profound role language plays in our lives,” said José Merino, the Communications Office Deputy Director and project manager of the PACC campaign.

“By choosing to communicate in our audience’s preferred language, we’re not only reaching out, but also recognizing the intricate ties between pets, family, and the rich cultural nuances that make our community so special,” Merino added.

Laura O’Brien, Friends of PACC board chair, said the group is grateful they’re able to provide the grant to enhance communications to the targeted zip codes.

“We all face challenges daily and hope that communicating in the language of choice will assist the members of our community with caring for their pets,” O’Brien said. “We aim to work together to keep animals with their families, lessening at least one stressor in their lives.”

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