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Monday, March 29, 2010

San Jacinto mulls change in animal services provider

Im thinking more seizures will be in order to pay for that big expensive building now that this contract has been lost...or maybe something will happen to the Ramona Shelter. I hope HUMANE SOCIETIES make a comeback because there is a huge difference in animal control and humane societies. Good for you San Jacinto!!! We can only hope other small cities in Riverside County follow suit.

San Jacinto mulls change in animal services provider

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, March 29, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

San Jacinto is considering contracting with the Ramona Humane Society for animal control services next fiscal year instead of continuing with Riverside County, which is proposing higher rates and sheltering animals at a soon-to-be-completed county shelter in the city.

The Humane Society has sheltered animals from San Jacinto and Hemet and the unincorporated county area for years, but this would be its first venture into providing an animal control officer and vehicle for field services.

That prospect caught the county Department of Animal Services by surprise, and a county representative will be at Thursday's council meeting, said John Welsh, a department spokesman, by phone.

The county's shelter on Grand Avenue, around the corner from the nonprofit society's shelter off Seventh Street, is expected to open in July.

The cost savings is the primary motivating factor but another is that the society is local, Tim Hults, interim city manager, said by phone. "We have a direct link to the executive director of the local Humane Society."

The council meets at 7 p.m. at the San Jacinto Community Center, 625 S. Pico Ave.

The society proposes a field services cost of $106,438 a year for three years, while the county is proposing a one-year rate of $343,140, or if the city agrees to a three-year term, a starting rate of $213,819 that would more than double by the third year to $515,264, according to a staff report by Hults.

The society proposes a sheltering services cost of an estimated $88,400 a year based on 2,220 animals taken in a year plus a two percent spay/neuter subsidy. The actual amount would vary based on the number of animals.

Based on the city's current service usage and what Hults called a "substantial increase" in county field services costs, the city estimates the county services would cost about $166,775.

Humane Society Executive Director Jeff Sheppard said of the group's proposal: "We've been requested to make a bid and we did." He declined to talk in detail before the council meeting.

County animal control officers are based at an office in southwest Hemet to serve the region.

Reach Gail Wesson at 951-763-3455 or gwesson@PE.com