By Cody Macartney, Animal Control Officer for the City of Palo Alto
We here at (PAAS) recently learned that the shelter and animal control services we have provided for more than 75 years may be outsourced.
The Palo Alto City Council has taken up the recommendation from the City Managers office to outsource Animal Control services to the Santa Clara-based Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) to save money and possibly relocate a car dealership to our location in the Baylands.
Although we are positive SVACA does an excellent job, this would be detrimental to the public and animals of the Palo Alto Area. There will be a few key differences between the services of PAAS and SVACA that I want to share.
It's true our jurisdiction is limited to Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mtn. View (until November), but countless others from neighboring communities use our adoption services, low-cost spay and neuter clinic, and vaccine clinics to keep their pets healthy and limit the stray pet population. With the closure of our shelter and clinic, there will be no low-cost solution between San Mateo and Santa Clara, which is a 27-mile gap. This will likely cause an increase of stray, homeless, abandoned, feral, and sick animals in this area.
Another major difference which should be noted is the fact that SVACA does not accept owned pets for surrender. Lets say you or someone has to give up their pet(s) for whatever reason. As long as you live in our jurisdiction, PAAS will accept any animal, for any reason without a charge to you. We believe this policy encourages people do the right thing, rather than abandon the animal(s) in the streets. If our shelter closes, you drive all the way down to your local shelter which would be SVACA in Santa Clara off 101. And they would tell you...
"Sorry, we won't take your animal. Please call the Humane Society in Milpitas, make an appointment, and pay $150 to surrender your animal. And they will accept the animal ONLY if they believe they can re-adopt it."
This will lead to a much higher rates of animal abandonment than we already see. Lost and frightened dogs, cats and other animals will clutter the streets endangering themselves and the public.
Factoring in higher animal licensing fees, adoption fees, and spay/neuter fees, and slower response times for their Animal Control Officers, and the job loss of 15 dedicated and hard working employees.... this is not a good move for Palo Alto. Please make your voice heard, email your city council members. Thank you very much for reading.
Cody Macartney is a regular Patch blogger.