Monday, April 18, 2011

Mendocino County GJ: Animal Control officers needed on the weekends

Ukiah Daily Journal Staff
Updated: 04/17/2011 07:49:49 PM PDT

Services for abandoned or abused animals in the county have diminished, but the Mendocino Grand Jury recently found that county personnel are performing admirably with limited resources.

"The Grand Jury, after reviewing the new structures for Animal Care Services (ACS) and Animal Control (AC), finds that the services provided to citizens and the animals have diminished," the report titled "Won't you please adopt one of us?" and released April 15 states. "(But) the GJ believes the AC and ACS are doing the very best they can with such limited resources, both monetary and staffing."

According to the GJ, AC and ACS became separate entities in February of 2009 "in an effort to provide better field enforcement service to the public."

AC is a division of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, and ACS is a division of the Mendocino County Public Health and Human Resources Agency.

The ACS facility is located on Plant Road in Ukiah and is the only county-run animal shelter since the Fort Bragg animal shelter closed on July 31, 2010.

The shelter is responsible for housing "stray, abused and unwanted animals" in the county, and its public hours of operation are limited due to budget constraints.

At the time that the GJ visited the shelter, "it housed 132 cats and 61 dogs (and) was found to be neat and clean."

The shelter also utilizes a CARE-A-VAN, which the GJ describes as a "state-of-the-art" surgery on wheels' that can spay and/or neuter up to 25 pets a days."

Currently, the van travels to remote areas of the county such as Covelo, Laytonville and Point Arena twice a month to provide services.

The van also occasionally provides free services to homeless individuals with animals.

Animal Control operates under the MCSO, which dispatches all calls for service. Priority is given to calls for loose vicious dogs, livestock or dogs on the highway, dogs in livestock or a risk of rabies exposure.

The lowest priority is given to calls about barking dogs or loose dogs not in the highway or around livestock.

Two AC officers work full-time, Monday through Friday, one in Willits and one in Ukiah. Weekend duties are handled by the MCSO.

While the GJ found that both entities are "doing the very best they can with such limited resources," it did recommend that AC adjust its schedule to "provide weekend coverage," and that ACS expands its CARE-A-VAN services to visit outlying areas "more than twice a month."

Read the report online at

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