Crowded county animal shelters prompt temporary surrender restriction

Department working on intervention program to help families keep animals

Starting Wednesday, the Contra Costa County Animal Services Department will be turning away people trying to surrender animals at its Martinez and Pinole shelters.

The temporary measure was introduced because of the high volume of animals currently at both facilities, according to the department.

The freeze, which has certain exceptions based on the health and age of animals, is expected to be in place for about a month. However, the department also announced a permanent change by closing its night deposit boxes for animals surrendered during off-hours.

The agency will still accept strays, injured or abandoned animals, as well as animals confiscated as a result of active investigations.

"Surrendering an animal to the shelter should be a last resort," animal services director Beth Ward said in a statement.

"High owner surrender rates leads to overpopulation in our shelters, which increases the possibilities that animals will get disease (or) experience behavior problems," Ward said.

The department plans on developing an intervention program to help support families keeping their animals in their homes.

— Bay City News Service

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4 people like this
Posted by ddmom
a resident of Danville
on Feb 2, 2016 at 8:05 am

this is so sad. I went to the websites to see if I could adopt a dog but almost every dog was a pitbull. I wonder what can be done to stop the overpopulation of pitbulls??

6 people like this
Posted by P
a resident of Danville
on Feb 2, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I wish a law was passed that all pets must be spaded before becoming a pet regardless if it is the only pet of a family/owner. This will help with the overpopulation. The animals are the ones to suffer when people are irresponsible or come across a problem when they have to give up their pets. I suspect this problem will become worse due to job losses because of the cost of vet care and food. The whole thing is so sad. Plus I heard of people dumping their animals when they get old simply because they don't want pay for costly vet care. Animals are not things---they are living beings with emotions and intelligence.

12 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Danville
on Feb 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm

What does this tell you people? We need the community to voice solutions and seek a way to implement them.
We need free spay neuter programs funded by animal control or A.R.F, one of our biggest non profits in our community. They have millions donated and currently held in reserves. Reserves that high do nothing for the animals in the community. That's Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation. Check to see any non profit's tax returns to see where your donated dollar goes and the money held in reserves. It's on the tax return. Be educated on where your donated support goes to. Small community rescues are all volunteer so most of donated money goes to the animals. The smaller the group the less chance of money being used for administration.
Portable hospitals to go into neighborhoods to spay neuter exist, but need funding.
S.N.I.P, Spay Neuter Intervention Programs are held at Animal Control when funding exists but is used for feral/unowned wild cats only. With help, it is possible for public pets dogs and cats, to have a program once a month for feree or a small donation.
We need education programs in our schools on spay neuter and the lifetime commitment, for our future owners of pets, who can bring home info to their families.
We need our local vets to help the community on this. I am appalled when I hear local vets charge more than the county fees of $50 for a spay or $30 for a neuter. A neuter takes 5 minutes including shaving testicles plus knock out and recovery time from the anesthesia. Spay adds on 20 minutes if you are an experienced vet. I hear stories of $200-$300 regardless of sex. How about the community supporting vets who offer low cost or no cost to financially challenged people by giving 20% of their business towards these efforts to help these animals.
Maybe a new division in Animal Control to even assess people who need to surrender their pets.
If it is a financial issue, free food is donated to Animal Control by Purina, how about a food share program as simple as show a drivers license, spay/neuter certificate for whatever pets they have (help by A.C's vet, to determine if fixed if no certificate exists and a bag of food per animal per month. Easy to keep track of when you come in by computer. Maybe a volunteer central distribution place used on a local bus route.
If it's a behavior issue, free training by volunteer trainers.
If it's accommodation issues, maybe temporary fosters.
Share your ideas, maybe something can come out of this discussion to help in even one small way.

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