Sutter shelter, animal rescue group team up
They haven't set a date.
But the joint powers authority that now oversees Sutter County's animal shelter, and a nonprofit animal rescue group that has placed more than 450 dogs and cats from the shelter into new homes in the last 11 months, are tentatively planning a future together.
On Thursday, Bob Clary, a Sutter County administrator recently named as the shelter's interim manager, met with nine officers from ResQPaws to establish guidelines and goals.
They got off to a rocky start.
New procedural changes made at the shelter led to 26 cats and dogs — most of them healthy — being euthanized a day earlier.
An informal arrangement had previously allowed ResQPaws to receive alerts about highly adoptable animals scheduled for euthanasia due to a lack of space.
The group has established a network of foster homes as well as organized regular adoption events.
"Things fell through the cracks," Clary said of the oversight that had ResQPaws volunteers up in arms.
"It doesn't seem cost effective, after cleaning, vaccinating and caring for these animals, to euthanize them without first trying to place them," said ResQPaws Volunteer Coordinator Diane Richardson.
Clary promised to improve lines of communication between the shelter and volunteers dedicated to finding adoptive homes for the animals.
"You are helping those animals. I want to help promote and expand this," Clary said.
Problems at the shelter on Second Street in Yuba City were detailed last year in a comprehensive — and scathing — grand jury report.
The Sutter Animal Shelter Authority, with elected representatives from the county and Yuba City and Live Oak, was formed in the aftermath of its release.
That agency now oversees management of the shelter and is planning construction of a $5 million facility to replace it.
"Imagine what we've been going through for eight years, just to get to this point," Clary said of the long troubled political process involved in moving the shelter plan forward.
Last week, SASA voted to modify its plan to include an adoption center and volunteer area to accommodate what its members hope will be a mostly volunteer labor force.
The ResQPaws meeting Thursday included a brainstorming session during which Clary and the group's leaders floated ideas for boosting adoptions and public relations.
Clary said he would like to increase incentives to adopt older animals, perhaps by lowering adoption costs for those older than a certain age.
"I don't think it's fair for an older dog to compete with a puppy," he said to a chorus of approval.
ResQPaws shelter liaison Liz Fredieu said she'd like to create an amnesty program for responsible pet owners whose lost animals wind up at the shelter.
Fees that are generally charged to have lost animals returned could be waived on a one-time basis for those whose animals are registered with the county and have proper vaccines and identification, Fredieu said.
"That will change the way people look at animal control officers, and I think it will lighten the load at the shelter," she said.
Clary is part of a new logistics committee tasked with making policy recommendations to SASA.
Integrating a volunteer program into shelter operations is part of his new function, he said.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at email@example.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.