Thursday, August 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

County supervisors take first step toward privatizing animal services

By
From page A4 | December 04, 2013 |

WOODLAND — County supervisors took a step toward the privatization of animal services on Tuesday when they directed staff to develop the framework for a joint powers agency that eventually could replace the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department as manager of animal services throughout the county.

The proposed JPA would include the cities of Davis, Winters, Woodland and West Sacramento, as well as the county itself and possibly UC Davis.

Currently, the Sheriff’s Department runs the animal shelter in Woodland and provides animal services for incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county. Services are funded through contracts with participating cities as well as through licensing fees.

But animal welfare activists — including the Yolo County Pet Animal Welfare Society — have long contended that the shelter euthanizes too many animals, with estimates of close to 30 percent of all dogs brought to the shelter and nearly 70 percent of cats being euthanized. Cities, meanwhile, have expressed concerns about the costs associated with the current model.

Their position was bolstered last year when a report commissioned by the Yolo County Local Agency Formation Commission urged privatization of the county’s animal services program through the formation of a joint powers agency. The report by the Animal Protection League suggested doing so would improve animal services while reducing costs and euthanasia rates.

A second study conducted earlier this year by the UCD Koret Shelter Medicine Program analyzed what programs and staffing levels would be needed for animal services in Yolo County and determined that the previous study overestimated the cost savings of forming a JPA.

However, the Koret study said that while “the potential for immediate cost savings is not as significant as previously indicated… long-term costs can be reduced by implementing best practices designed to reduce animal intake.”

Specifically, the report recommended increasing staffing overall, with more resources going into spaying and neutering as well as volunteer and fostering programs.

“By providing an up-front investment in slightly elevated staffing and programming levels,” the Koret report said, “the JPA can expect a significant return on investment in future years. The recommendations provided by (Koret) are intended to provide sustainable long-term improvements such as decreased intakes, shorter lengths of stay for animals, greater community/volunteer engagement, and increased leveraging of outside funding and resources.

“As efforts are implemented to reduce intakes and shorten length of stay, lower staffing levels will be needed to serve the daily population,” the report said. “Additionally, as volunteer support becomes more prevalent and stable, the need for paid staff may decrease.”

In recommending that supervisors move toward the JPA model, County Administrator Patrick Blacklock said, “there is a long-term return on investment in this.

“The end result should be lower intake of animals in the future, which should result in lower costs.”

Once the JPA plan is drawn up, it would have to be approved by all of the participating cities as well as the Board of Supervisors. At that point, the new agency could begin soliciting bids from animal service providers.

But even then, there still could be disagreements on the standard of care each city is willing to pay for, Supervisor Matt Rexroad cautioned.

The JPA model, he noted, “assumes everyone plays well in the sand box.”

However, he said, “say we go down this road and one of the cities decides, ‘That’s not the standard of care we want for (animals),’ and they decide to abandon the model?”

The city of Davis, in particular, Rexroad said, may bring a different set of values to how much money should be spent on animal services, and if Davis — or another city — decides to back out, “this whole thing will fall apart.”

“I have concerns we’re going to end up with a train wreck,” he said.

Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis suggested that could be prevented if all the participating agencies agree to a long-term contract with the JPA.

Another concern raised by several supervisors is the future of the current Sheriff’s Department employees who work in animal services.

There are 18 positions assigned to animal services, county staff reported, 15 of which are currently filled.

Options for those employees would include employment with the newly created JPA, placement in another existing position in the county or retirement. Absent those options, the result would be layoffs, staff noted.

Blacklock said those employees are being kept apprised of the ongoing JPA discussions and the impact on them.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

.

News

Here’s a guide to Fifth Street etiquette

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Marsh trial still scheduled to begin Monday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
The show must go on: DMTC celebrates 30 years

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Puppy love: dating sites match up animal lovers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Aid workers with Ebola out of hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Actors, crew needed for touring eco-play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Onramp crash injures two

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Village Feast offers a taste of Yolo County with a hint of Europe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Sign up soon for Sac City’s fall classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Free electronic waste recycling service offered

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

NAMI support group meets Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
 
Animal Services issues warning about rabid bats

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Museum sets brick dedication date

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Peregrine School is open for tours, registration

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fish-friendly river water intake takes shape

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Qigong class starts in September


By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Meet K9 officer Dexter at Davis Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Grandmothers support group meets weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Join the fun at the DMTC Gala on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Poets will read their original work on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Great game kids, pass the beer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Many thanks to Brooks Painting

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

I really miss cal.net, too

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Where are the Water Police?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Frank Bruni: The trouble with tenure

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Will you help serve Davis’ senior citizens?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Scoring machine propels Republic to another win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
River Cats clip Redbirds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants cruise past Cubs in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie coaches nearer starting lineups for Stanford opener

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s lose to split series with Mets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers’ Dawson still learning to kick in new stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

‘La Cage aux Folles’: a refreshing take on a classic

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Wineaux: A sparkling prescription for a new disease

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

Free classical concerts set at Covell Gardens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Dora Mae Clark Anderson

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6