A new year may mean a new start for the critters at the Burbank Animal Shelter.
Beginning this weekend, the shelter is expanding hours to be open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"We have the largest number of visitors on Saturdays and we hope Sunday will do the same for us," said shelter Supt. Brenda Castaneda.
Sunday hours were recommended during an audit of the shelter's services two years ago and Castaneda has been working to meet the suggestions.
"We will evaluate how Sunday hours have worked in July," Castaneda said. "We may possibly decide to open a full day if we have high adoption and return rates."
Opening for the additional four hours on the weekends won't have a financial impact on the shelter's operations, but it does reduce staffing during other parts of the week during the trial period, Castaneda added.
On Tuesday, the shelter will present a status report on the recommendations suggested by the audit during a review of the Burbank Police Department. The shelter has completed 12 of the 21 recommendations; seven remain in progress and two are pending.
The shelter is also asking for reinstatement of the kennel attendant and animal control officer positions, in addition to establishing a position to direct volunteer services.
Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, who will also be present to help at the facility's inaugural Sunday opening, are also starting fresh for the new year with new officers to head the organization.
Denise Fleck was elected as the nonprofit's new president for a two-year term.
Fleck, an animal care author and pet CPR instructor, had been doing public relations work for the volunteer organization and has plans for expanded outreach in the community.
"We want to continue to increase adoptions," Fleck said. "We already have a high adoption rate, but there is always room for improvement."
She also echoed Castaneda's hopes for the Sunday hours, pointing out that residents now won't have to wait until Monday if to see if the shelter has their runaway pets.
In accordance with the audit recommendations, Fleck's pet safety training will also contribute to a pet disaster plan for the shelter and community. She said she'd also like to see animal care classes for children.
"We want to educate people that these animals are not broken; their homes were broken," Fleck said. "They just need to be matched with the right ones."