Software review: the ARK system

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

The ARK System, from Ohio
Business Computers (POB 855,
Findlay, OH 45839). Introduced in
1987; now at version 4:01. Price:
$1,495 and up.
Handling circa 3,000 animals a
year, the Wyandot County Humane
Society has used ARK System for track-
ing shelter activity since 1992. Entering
seven years’ worth of records took our
part-time volunteers most of the first
year. The system proved relatively easy
for first-time computer users to learn.

Those afraid of messing up the system
can be assigned “inquiry only” access,
which precludes accidental input. While
computerizing a shelter from scratch
could never be easy, we found that
Ohio Business Computers answered
most calls for help the same day.
We began with a donated com-
puter that even our slowest typist found
frustratingly slow. We now use a 386
IBM-compatible PC with 125 MB hard
drive. Far from state-of-the-art, this is
adequate. Since most shelters will want
to run word processing and graphics pro-
grams too, extra memory is a plus.
We use ARK to do back-
ground checks on prospective adopters,
and to track cruelty complaints, but the
feature we use most is the animal infor-
mation file, listing each animal by
species, date received, and a sequential
number. We also record why each ani-
mal came to us, from whom; his or her
health record; and ultimate disposition.
Shelters without the means to neuter ani-
mals before placement can use ARK to
assist with follow-up. In addition, ARK
tracks euthanasia and adoption statistics
and prints cage cards. The lost-and-
found feature is handy for generating all-
points bulletins, but is no substitute for
having the owner of a missing pet visit to
look at arrivals.
We are happy to share our
experience: call 419-294-4477 evenings.
––Dave and Lynda Balz
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