Changes have sparked success at the local animal shelter, Mi’Chielle Cooper said.

One of the most dramatic changes is a complete conversion to automated shelter management software, Cooper, Prairie Paws Animal Shelter executive director, said. The software is expected to allow shelter employees to keep more thorough records, she recently told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in a quarterly report.

“We’re hoping that helps us to have more accurate information to report, and we will be able to give our reports in a more timely fashion as well,” Cooper said.

The shelter, at 3173 K-68, Ottawa, had 129 animal intakes in January, Cooper said, with 37 percent of the animals collected in Franklin County and 25 percent collected in Ottawa. A total of 178 animals were housed in the shelter at the end of January after 62 adoptions.

The shelter receives a portion of its funding from Franklin County and the City of Ottawa, as well as various private donations and grants.

A nonprofit organization, the shelter mainly operates on volunteer support, Cooper said. Volunteers worked 460 hours in January, resulting in nearly $4,000 in wage savings to the shelter. The shelter has 502 registered and active volunteers, Cooper said, resulting in a 15-percent increase in volunteerism when compared to 2011 numbers.

Several local organizations support the shelter in various ways, Cooper said. A recently established partnership with the Ottawa school district aids both Franklin County’s four- and two-legged residents, she said.

“Every Wednesday afternoon the three elementary schools in Ottawa come out and spend some time with us in the shelter,” Cooper said. “They spend time reading to the animals, which has proven scientific research behind it, that it actually improves the literacy and reading ability of students and increases their comprehension when they read to the animals.”

Funds have been allocated to get additional books for the students from Eugene Field, Garfield and Lincoln elementary schools, to continue that program as long as the district allows, Cooper said.