Woods Humane Society strongly urges all communities in San Luis Obispo County, including Paso Robles and Atacadero, to continue their service contracts with San Luis Obispo County Animal Services (SLOCAS).
Our community has the expectation that animals will be treated humanely, that stray animals will have the opportunity to be reunited with their owners, and that animals that are unclaimed will be held as long as necessary to find permanent homes. In addition to providing services for the care, sheltering and adoption of dogs and cats, SLOCAS regularly accepts and secures appropriate housing for a variety of other species including rabbits, chickens, horses, goats, and other companion animals.
They serve the critical functions of providing dog licensing, rabies control, public safety from vicious animals, and their field services officers handle a variety of enforcement duties, including the investigation of complaints related to animal abuse and neglect. It is imperative that all functions are performed well and that resources exist to handle large-scale seizures of animals.
Providing these services is costly. Animal sheltering facilities are expensive to build and require specialized design and construction to support proper sanitation, safety ventilation and noise control. Animals must be housed in a way to minimize stress and the spread of disease. Skilled staffing to handle daily functions and veterinary services for animals is also costly.
Woods believes it is in the best interest of the animals and the community for all municipalities to share the cost of sheltering and services provided by SLOCAS. This economy of scale allows the shared usage of a sheltering facility, field officer response and the assurance that resources are available to respond to disasters and large-scale seizures. It gives the public a single point of contact for response and relieves local municipalities from the call volume, concerns and complaints that can arise related to animal issues.
Breaking this structure apart and directing people and animals to different service providers will be confusing and frustrating to the public. In addition to the potentially tragic implications for the animals, failing to provide the standard of care and service that has been provided by SLOCAS will result in costly public relations issues and staff time.
We ask you to carefully consider the needs of the animals, the needs of the public, the full scope of services and the potential consequences should an alternative plan fail. The animals and your constituents are counting on you.
Jill Tucker is executive director of Woods Humane Society.