The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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July 24, 2012

Donors install new computer system at Joplin animal shelter

JOPLIN, Mo. — People who want to adopt a pet or search for a lost one will soon have an easier way to check out the animals at the Joplin Humane Society’s Animal Adoption and Resource Center.

A cutting-edge computer system and software have been donated and are expected to streamline the center’s record keeping as well as give the public a user-friendly portal to the animals available there.

Larry Hedin, vice president of sales for Heartland Technology Solutions, 526 S. Main St., said the donations of hardware and software came from Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Intel, Shelter Pro and Heartland. Heartland hopes to have the system up and operating by late this afternoon.

The donations came about after Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Intel asked Heartland about three months ago how the companies could do more for tornado-torn Joplin.

“They wanted to do something for a nonprofit that was indirectly affected by the tornado,” Hedin said. Heartland representatives nominated the animal shelter because it took in about 1,300 displaced animals after the 2011 tornado, and it was key to helping many owners reconnect with their pets and finding new homes for many of the animals that survived the EF-5 storm.

Hedin said that while the shelter has a new building, the organization’s computer equipment was limited, and it did not have a network for sharing documents among workers.

When the nomination was made, Hedin told shelter representatives to make a wish list, “and they got more than they wished for,” he said. About $40,000 worth of equipment, a dedicated file server and more than $25,000 in software and services are involved. Additionally, the Shelter Pro company learned of the donation effort and added $7,000 worth of its software that is specifically tailored for animal shelter operations.

“Now the community can come and be served by state-of-the-art technology,” Hedin said.

That starts in the lobby with a 42-inch digital sign that delivers messages about shelter services, events and promotions.

Instead of having to go cage to cage to look at the animals, visitors may use a computer station with a touch screen that shows photographs and lists information about the animals available.

Lysa Buehler, shelter manager, said she believes the system will make operations run more smoothly. She said shelter workers have had to do a lot of paperwork by hand, particularly in keeping medical records, because of the lack of up-to-date technology.

“We’re so grateful to have been chosen to receive this,” she said. “We think it’s going to make such a difference, and we hope it will make adoptions go up,” because the system makes it easier for people to search for a new companion or a lost pet.

Center location

THE JOPLIN HUMANE SOCIETY’S Animal Adoption and Resource Center is located off North Main Street Road at 140 E. Emperor Lane.

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