Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Time to reform Animal Services

At the latest Woodland City Council meeting, I made comments in support of the LAFCO report on the Yolo County Animal Services, which recommends that Animal Services be removed from the Sheriff’s Department. As a former peace officer, a local businesswomen and the director of Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue, I am known for speaking my mind and speaking in plain terms.

As some recent grumblings might incorrectly suggest, my comments were not meant to bash the current employees, but rather to agree with the report’s conclusions that the current model is just not working. I have had a good, close working relationship with the shelter staff and am grateful that they have allowed me to help rescue so many animals over the years.

While I respect many individuals at Animal Services and applaud the job that they do, their hands are tied within the Sheriff’s Department, as animal issues are the lowest priority in law enforcement. To make significant improvements, we need to change the model, draw qualified management from a larger pool, and concentrate on animal issues, such as investigating abuse, cruelty and abandonment.

Cracking down on animal abuse, combined with youth outreach and humane education as we do successfully at Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue, is critical to encourage responsible pet ownership and reduce intake numbers.

Through the proposed privatization where animal welfare and life-saving will finally be the No. 1 priority, we can get much-needed programs, more staffing, more volunteers, better services and better outcomes at no additional cost to the cities.

As a professional dog trainer and a longtime resident of Yolo County, I have a passion for helping our community and the animals in it. It is time to move forward and ensure that the funding allocated to Yolo County Animal Services for animal control, sheltering and care is used to maximize the benefit to our citizens and animals.

Renee Lancaster

Woodland

Letters to the Editor

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  • Christine CaseyOctober 15, 2012 - 8:16 pm

    It is important to recognize that this report was not intended to be a comprehensive overview of Animal Services and thus overlooks other solutions to the high euthanasia rate at our shelter. This study was intended only to answer the question of whether or not shelter privatization was feasible. The recommendation that it is fails to consider that there is no private organization in Yolo County with the expertise to run Animal Services. It has been my experience that animal agencies placed within law enforcement are generally better equipped and staffed than those that are not. In my role as chair of an animal services advisory committee in North Carolina, this was one of the improvements we sought. In tough budget times it’s better to be the lowest priority in a high-priority agency than to be going it alone. I agree that Yolo County needs to improve how we care for our animals, including changes at the shelter. Let’s build on the skill and experience of the current Animal Services staff rather than discard that expertise for an unproven new model.

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