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Future of Palo Alto's animal services to be debated tonight

Original post made on May 10, 2012

The fate of Palo Alto's aged but popular Animal Services Center on East Bayshore Road will be the focus of a public hearing tonight when a City Council committee considers a staff proposal to outsource animal services.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 10, 2012, 9:29 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

Chief of Police already said to save PAAS some heads have to be cut. The supervisor position, one full- time Animal Control Officer and the Volunteer Coordinator. PAAS is a very small shelter there is no need for the number of full-time employees working there. But just reading all excuses from PAAS manager it tells me that the manager is the one who does not want to compromise.


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Posted by Old Town Paly Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

PLEASE HELP SAVE OUR PALO ALTO SHELTER!! I know a good percentage of residents in Palo Alto and surrounding areas are pet owners / lovers and this shelter is NEEDED!! Please come to the meeting tonight and support this cause...your pets and those unwanted homeless pets in our community will thank you!


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

It's doubtful that outsourcing the service would even save any money. Think of the explosion in stray animals due to an increase in un-neutered pets and pet owners who can't take care of them anymore and now find it impossible to surrender their pets to a shelter. Think of owners whose pet has died and now find it extremely difficult to get an animal service officer to pick up the carcase-some will be forced to sump the dead animals in the public domain. There will be awful hardship for pet owners, no net saving and we will continue to lose the soul of this once wonderful town.


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Posted by Sally c
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I would like to clarify that the PAAS Volunteer Coordinator works
20 hours a week. She is not a full time employee.


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Posted by Laura
a resident of College Terrace
on May 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Closing the shelter is not the answer. Palo Alto should hang onto the shelter. Please reconsider other option.


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Posted by Eliz Maulick
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

The humane society in Palo Alto's backyard is a huge resource for the community. When we first moved here we had 2 cats. One of them ran away. The humane society has a book for people that have lost or found there cats. If found cats (or other pets) were brought to them they will write up the description and care for the cat hoping the owner would be there soon to claim them. They were always rooting for us. They also have a great set up for families to adopt new pets. There are so many volunteers that work so hard to keep this place running along with very few paid workers.

I called on the humane society a couple years ago when I heard a stray kitten in the engine of my husband's car. The driver was able to lure the kitty out after much work. This same driver goes around and picks up stray dogs or injured animals- who will do this after the hume society is gone?

The rising cost of vetinarians is ridiculous. It is nice that the peninsula humane offers reasonal feels to spay and neuter the animals. They also take of this before they will let owners adopt- what a great service for the city to promote. Perhaps most of the personnel is from another city and they don't care.

If you visit the peninsula humane society you will see there is nothing excessive about it- they are running with absolutely no bells ands whistles the people are working hard and each person has many responsibilities. Can you say that about the building department? It seems it takes always more than one person to do anything and days to finish how about let's save money in the places where it just wouldnt make a difference- not at the humane society


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Posted by HelptheCats
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I could not come to the city hall tonight even though I would have liked to, but I certainly DO want to share that I support having a animal center for Palo Altans.
PLEASE KEEP IT.


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Posted by Help Our Shelter &address
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Please always put the full address for folks that don't get around and aren't sure of where to go or how long to get there.


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Posted by Help Our Shelter &address
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Please always put the full address for folks that don't get around and aren't sure of where to go or how long to get there.


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Posted by amy
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Keep the animal shelter open in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

More fear mongering by PAAS supporters. Our streets will not be littered with stray animals and carcasses, just as they are not in the cities that participate in the regional service. Outsourcing this service will save tax payers an estimated 2.5 million dollars in the first 5 years alone. We will also not have to pay the additional funds it would take to upgrade and sustain a city owned facility.

Please also consider that our city is still going to provide animal services to support our pet owners and wildlife. We are not abandoning our responsibilities. The city must overcome this financial hole that we have dug ourselves, and this represents just one of many sacrifices that needs to be made in order to gain financial stability. This is a difficult but still a very wise decision.


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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm

If the dog owners want to keep it open, charge them a dog license fee
that will pay for the shelter.

We will see if they are serious or want a handout.


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Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I just want to clarify some nomenclature.

Palo Alto Animal Services (PAAS), also called animal shelter or shelter, is the building cluster on E. Bayshore between Embarcadero and San Antonio. The shelter has kennels and cages and play areas for animals that are up for adoption. It also has a veterinary clinic, an on-staff veterinarian, two vet techs, office staff, and approx 50 volunteers working with animals and owners/adopters. This is the service Palo Alto has considered shutting down. Web Link

A similar entity is the Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS). Web Link Its current offices are in Menlo Park. People at PAHS do a lot of work educating children (and others) about caring for pets and other animals in our county. They also support several feral cat TNR groups (Trap Neuter Release, I think it's called). The Executive Director of PAHS is Carole Hyde, and it was her proposal, submitted to the Policy & Services Committee, that helped immensely in getting the committee to leave the shelter in place while committed volunteers work on alternative solutions to the current financial problems PAAS faces.

PAHS and PAAS share similar goals, but they are separate entities.


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Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Hi Marrol, Last night at the Committee meeting in City Hall, I was able to see Pam Antil sharing information and answering questions. I became convinced that you are NOT Pam Antil.

In person she came across (IMHO) as reasonable, willing to listen, sympathetic to the concerns of local pet owners, and also deeply concerned about the city budget, which she sees more clearly than I do.

The Question period between Staff (Pam Antil, James Keene, Sandi Stadler, and others) and members of the Policy & Services Committee made me wonder where you get your "facts"?

In fact, Palo Alto has not yet submitted an RFP to SVACA or any other "outsource" possibility.

Ergo, Palo Alto does not know what guaranteed services SVACA provides; we do not know what SVACA wants Palo Alto to pay for the services; we do not know whether Palo Alto could negotiate for a "higher" level of service to make up for what we'd lose if PAAS is closed.

The Committee members acknowledged that outsourced services would certainly be inferior to what we find at PAAS. The question is, how can we guarantee long-term income? endowments? whatever is required to make PAAS self-sustaining? The Committee simply voted to allow more time (in months) for citizens to establish new ground rules, a new support structure, possibly more independence for PAAS.


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Posted by Janine
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

PAAS is over-staffed and under poor leadership. The superintendent is a very nice person - the vet runs the shelter, and also works in the emergency clinic in SF at night. The number of spays/neuters has gone down a tremendous amount because of this, but the vet still makes 128K to do 10, maybe 12 spay/neuters a day. The "supervisor" does the budgeting - the superintendant could do this. The supervisor is a dog breeder. The front office has too many people, and because it doesn't open until 11AM, there is a good amount of breeder banter happening before the shelter opens, except by the animal care people, who must have the animals' cages cleaned and prepared by the public. Take out a full-time office staffer, the supervisor, and one or two animal control officers. Without Mountain View on the plate after this year, that is plenty. Make the vet start work at 8AM like the old vet, and do spay/neuter util 3:30 or 4 like the old vet. Watch the revenue increase. If the old vet doesn't want to do this because they are burned out from working the emergency vet in San Francisco at night, get a new vet who is willing to work for the high salary. Just my opinion. The animal control officers and the animal care people work for every penny and in my experience are excellent.


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Posted by Yvonne
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Maroll, do you own Palo Alto? You are very cranky and way "we" wayyyy too much. You represent you, and possibly some others. You do not and are not "we." I think you're in this fight just to irritate people at this point and probably don't even care...you just like to argue.


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