County, city consider joint animal shelter
by Jon Mendelson / Tracy Press
Aug 09, 2011 | 5950 views | 32 32 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A pair of dogs wait for a new home in the kennels of the Tracy Animal Shelter.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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In the eyes of Ben Miller, supervisor for Tracy’s animal control services, the need for a new animal shelter is obvious.

“Our facility is old, it’s aging, it’s a poor location, it’s difficult to find, and it’s too small.”

The shelter serving Tracy now, on Arbor Road near the city’s waste treatment plant north of Interstate 205, was first built sometime in the 1970s, Miller said. And it needs an update.

Miller has said in the past that the Tracy shelter is “average” when it comes to saving adult felines, but has said the local shelter euthanizes only 20 percent of the dogs that stay in its kennels, while the typical shelter puts down about 60 percent. Of that 20 percent at the Tracy shelter, Miller said, only half are put down because there’s no room.

But more space and a better location mean there’s a better chance of improving animals’ odds of survival. Plus, the building is falling apart, Miller said last week, adding it’s a constant struggle to keep the building in good shape.

“It’s constant maintenance,” he said.

It’s a problem facing animal shelters all around San Joaquin County, according to a presentation to the county board of supervisors Aug. 2. The consultant-prepared report details both the need for new shelter facilities as well as a possible remedy — namely, forming a joint power agreement between the county and its cities to provide animal services.

The report envisions Tracy, Manteca and other county cities join with Stockton and the county to build a new animal shelter.

Consultants Tammie Murrell and Sue Marks-Gibbs said such JPAs have been formed in as little as six months, but the proposal before San Joaquin County officials is in its early stages.

County Administrator Manuel Lopez said that no location had been identified for the potential joint shelter, and money to build it is in short supply.

“We haven’t identified the land yet,” he said. “There’s not a pot of money there. None of the cities nor the county have the revenue today.”

But folding the shelter, licensing, adoption, vet care and other services into one centralized location would be more efficient, said Murrell and Marks-Gibbs.

“We know every JPA founded in California has succeeded,” Murrell said following her presentation, adding that their study reveals improved service for lower costs across the board.

But it’s not surefire that the proposal is the answer to Tracy’s animal shelter problem, local officials say.

Miller said one of the major drawbacks with the city’s current digs is that folks don’t always want to travel to its out-of-the-way location, an issue that could be exacerbated if a joint shelter is built in a more county-central location like Stockton or French Camp.

“I think that’s too far to be convenient to Tracy residents,” he said.

“More convenience, (a) more logical location would increase our adoption rate. Every time we euthanize an animal, it represents a failure for us.”

City Manager Leon Churchill, who has been a part of talks regarding a joint shelter agreement, said that Tracy’s needs are his first priority when looking at a new shelter.

“We’ll participate (in this process), but I think this community’s goals are slightly different,” Churchill said.

In the past couple years, the city has hosted workshops and meetings to figure out what the public wants from a shelter and what can be done to build a new one.

But the capital funds don’t exist right now for Tracy to build a shelter on its own, though animal services as a whole will cost Tracy only $607,000 for 2011-12.

“Right now, we’re trying to look for possibilities with the county,” Churchill said.

Miller, for one, is convinced Tracy deserves its own shelter.

“I think a city of our size is worthy of our own animal shelter, or at least a localized satellite facility of a larger (joint powers agreement),” he said.

Comments
(32)
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ILovePeppermint
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August 14, 2011
It sounds like the Tracy shelter is doing better than other animal shelters?
Sneaky
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August 11, 2011
« kerryrog wrote on Wednesday, Aug 10 at 11:05 PM »

"Sneaky needs to be neutered!"

That would be like closing the barn door after the horses have already escaped, if you know what I mean.

If the majority of folks in this town want a new animal shelter then I guess it is going to happen one way or another. That said, that same majority should have to figure out what they are going to cut to get the money. For me animals are last on the list of concerns but if people really want to cut assistance for the elderly, or help for the homeless, or funding for our mass transit system, or assistance for the mentally handicapped or disabled, or police and fire services just so they can get a shiny new building for the animal shelter workers then so be it.

aztec
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August 11, 2011
@ Victor, WoW that's got to be the dumbest thing I've heard but coming from you it makes sense.
AugustMarch
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August 11, 2011
45,

Instead of raising our taxes ... for us (or against us?) ... Why not come up with a more creative solution?

Today's Stockton paper has an ad for the Delta Humane society that says they take used car donations and turn it into a tax donation that cares for unwanted pets.

Let's see tax break? Or... Tax increase?

Hmmmm... Sounds like a no brainer if you ask me.
mtrew
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August 10, 2011
Yes it does smell horrible there. It actually made my son sick to his stomach.

Better accessibility and better accommodations.
victor_jm
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August 10, 2011
"I would bet most citizens would react in the same way...more strays wandering, more abandoned animals left behind by families sadly forced to walk away from their homes."

This type of bogus sentiment by thinkers like 45MPH is one reason why our attitude about people and pets needs to be re-evaluated.

The irresponsible breeding of cats and dogs in the private sector (yes, in your backyard) is out of control. If the state feels it ought to have a role in the propagation and management of these species, it ought to be in the prosecution of reckless citizens who propagate wayward pets. By my estimation, over 50 percent of dogs do nothing all day but bark, eat and defecate, and when their owners get home, both owner and dog do nothing but bark, eat and defecate--and watch television together.

I can live with the size of our U.S population; we don't need any more people or pets.

Stop with the propagation.
45MPH
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August 10, 2011
This will be my last post on this subject. I'll spend my energy contacting our City mayor, City manager and council members. I certainly hope that every citizen who is an animal lover like me/family, will support an effort to keep our local shelter up and running. Letters from citizens concerning a shelter outiside of the City should be sent to City Hall before a quick decision is made.

Imagine finding a stray cat or dog.....and imagine having to load up this animal and drive to Lathrop, Stockton, French Camp to turn it in to the shelter. I have to honestly say, as much as I love animals, I'm not so sure that I would bother. I'd ignore the stray, and save myself the effort. I AM an animal lover..keep strays, nueter, spay, at our own expense..feed and love them.

I would bet most citizens would react in the same way..more strays wandering, more abandoned animals left behind by families sadly forced to walk away from their homes.

Tracy CAN and SHOULD support an appropriate facility for stray animals-a LOW KILL shelter.

I'd be happy to pay 10.00 a month on my Utility Bill to support a new shelter in our City-something that we can be proud to call our own, like our City Hall.
ILovePeppermint
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August 10, 2011
Jon Mendelson,

This may help put it into perspective.

If every man, woman, and child in Tracy was charged $7.50 then we could raise the money for the animal shelter.

If half the people say, "forget it", then the other half would have to fork over $15 dollars each - for them.

If 3/4th of the people said, "take a hike", then 25% of the men, women, and children would have to pay $30 dollars each.

Finally, if you factor in the 80/20 rule then it would cost every man, woman, and child - even more.

However, if the cost were spread out across the COUNTY, it would reduce the per-person cost, by an order of magnitude.

Sneaky
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August 10, 2011
« mommyofthree wrote on Wednesday, Aug 10 at 04:31 PM »

"Miller said one of the major drawbacks with the city’s current digs is that folks don’t always want to travel to its out-of-the-way location,-

WOW!!!! Really?! Out of the way? It's like 5-10 into the country,that is SO pathetic. People actually whine because it is far?!

Oh sorry Timmy, we can't go save an animal because it is 5-10 min's out of my way....

People are PATHETIC!"

Amen. I dont see how the location is particularly bad. The same folks whining about how far it is probably travel to livermore or pleansanton every weekend to shop, or drive 40 miles to work daily.

If anything it is a great location, in a place where the noise and smell wont bother any residents.

Read more: Tracy Press - County city consider joint animal shelter
Sneaky
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August 10, 2011
I am not sold on the need for a new animal shelter. As stated in the article it was built in the 1970s. That does not make it a very old building. There are tons of folks in this town that live in houses way older than that. There are also plenty of private businesses in buildings older than that. It seems blatantly unfair to take taxes from folks living or working in buildings built in the 1920s to help folks working in an animal shelter built in the 1970s.

This is typical of people in the public sector..."oh noes the building is not brand new, therefore we need to build a new one. Cmon, aninal services will only swallow 600k in the next two years." I'll tell you what, if it is "only" 600k then surely you can cover that from your own pocket change.

I also wonder about the scope of services provided. It seems extreme. In my experience cats dont need a shelter. They survive quite fine all on their own. Dogs are admitedly a bit dumber and many wont survive on their own but that should be handled in the absolute cheapest way possible (put em right to sleep).

That said, if they can get local companies to pitch in and cover the cost, great, more power to them.
dumbpeoplesuck
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August 10, 2011
Although I think fund raising would be a step in the right direction, I also know that selling candy bars and washing cars would never raise the kind of money needed for a new facility. I'm very curious to know what (if any) the City has invested in these "meetings" or consults regarding this regional shelter. If you ask me, it's all smoke and mirrors to lead people to think something is being done to find a solution to a long neglected City department, but really they have no means (or motivation) to do anything about it.
mommyofthree
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August 10, 2011
Miller said one of the major drawbacks with the city’s current digs is that folks don’t always want to travel to its out-of-the-way location,-

WOW!!!! Really?! Out of the way? It's like 5-10 into the country,that is SO pathetic. People actually whine because it is far?!

Oh sorry Timmy, we can't go save an animal because it is 5-10 min's out of my way....

People are PATHETIC!

doglover7
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August 10, 2011
I think that members of the city council and the mayor should take a visit to see the Tracy Animal Shelter and see where the unadopted animals are living. Better yet, have the mayor and the members of the city council work in that location for a week and see how they like it!

The shelter is TOO SMALL and the smell is probably toxic. I donate food once in a while to the shelter and smeling that area is probably toxic to the employees and the animals of the shelter. Tracy should do more for the shelter, maybe some kind of benefit to raise money for a new shelter. I would be happy to make a donation to help build a new animal shelter in Tracy!

mtrew
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August 10, 2011
I just adopted a pup from the shelter too. She is awesome! I love the one on the left in the pic! Sooo cute!
Games4kids
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August 10, 2011
Tracy should be embarassed by the condition of its animal shelter. They just hide it out there on Arbor hoping no one will notice? Come on Tracy stop putting in fountains in town and build a shelter. Priorities!
AugustMarch
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August 10, 2011
TC,

Are you confusing this with the homeless shelter?

TracyCitizen
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August 10, 2011
I do wonder just how many folks who read the comments every bother to read "Ornley Gums" remarks since he insists on writing in his hillbilly style (sorry to all hillbillys!) and I have difficulty following his giberish. And I agree with 45 MPH, he is a pot stirer for sure.

Anyways...on more important matters. Hopefully the city will make plans for a meeting to address the needs of the shelter.
AugustMarch
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August 10, 2011
Why don't they get McNerney to put the veterinary clinic in French Camp next to the veterans clinic?
45MPH
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August 10, 2011
Dear Ornley (should be Ornery, but may be more of your 'play' on words),

*Have the Veterinary Clinics been involved? There are four in town. Maybe they have been, but CERTAINLY they can play an active role just through their office contact with people loving animals. Their clientele are the pet lovers of our fine City and an easy location to advertise a fundraising event/donations, etc. Because a vet 'once served on the council', doesn't have much to do with supporting the community in such an important venture.

*No, I certainly wouldn't promote the City taking eminent domaine over a property owners building...an option to purchase or lease from the owner. Limited wording here...and some things don't need 'splainin in your lingo.

*Don't think I referred to any residential areas..only areas where current businesses are located. Are you always such a pot stirer? Nothing positive coming from your direction, Ornery.

*Since this is a City owned entity, it would certainly behoove the City to coordinate a meeting and ask for community support and attendance at initial meeting.

*I'll be there....looking for you in your hillbilly hat and negative grimace.

aztec
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August 10, 2011
YES, WE DO NEED SOMETHING TO BE DONE!!! These poor Animals deserve better...@ tracyresdnt ABSOLUTELY...@ doors17 AMEN...


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