YEAR IN REVIEW: Work starts on new animal shelter
As we get closer to the end of 2012, it’s time to look back at what made news in the Appeal-Democrat over the past year. Over 10 consecutive days ending Monday, we are running stories – in chronological order – on each of our top 10 stories of 2012. Disagree with our choices? You can go to the A-D website at www.appealdemocrat.com and vote for your own top 10 stories from among 20 choices or add your own. We will print the results on Jan. 3.
After eight years of talks, fights and standoffs, construction on a new animal shelter for Sutter County, Yuba City, and Live Oak is under way.
The $5 million project broke ground in late November, putting to rest a long and difficult negotiation among elected officials about cost and blame for conditions at the existing shelter.
Throughout 2012, administrators from Yuba City and Sutter County grappled with fallout from a highly critical grand jury report published in 2011 that pinpointed mismanagement and "deplorable" conditions at the existing animal shelter on Second Street in Yuba City.
Simultaneously, they worked to clear the way for preliminary construction to begin on a new shelter on Garden Highway.
Longtime Assistant Community Services Director Randy Cagle, who had overseen operations at the existing facility, left early in 2012 in the wake of the grand jury report.
That report, which made use of an inspection by UC Davis veterinarians, highlighted the high rate of animal deaths at the shelter. The numbers cited, including those animals that were euthanized and those that died of disease or injury within their cages, reflected widespread problems both with management and the facility.
Among details pointed out by the grand jury were those related to a long-standing rat infestation, a lack of access to hot water and other basic sanitation necessities and procedures that involved wet and feces-covered animals.
Bob Clary, a county official, was made interim manager at the site. Shelter Supervisor Cheryl Bohanan was removed from her management role.
In spite of ongoing disputes between members of the newly created Sutter Animal Services Authority — a group that includes many of the same elected officials who have been at it since 2004 — a contract was awarded to Randy Hill Construction of Chico for the new facility.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at email@example.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.