News

Changes eyed for Palo Alto's animal shelter

City Council to reach out to residents, other cities in planning for facility's future

Palo Alto's animal shelter is no longer in danger of closing, but city officials agreed on Tuesday night that it's time to rethink how the city operates the popular but financially draining facility on East Bayshore Road.

The City Council Finance Committee briefly discussed on Tuesday the animal shelter's future and the recent proposal by the Palo Alto Humane Society to help the city expand the facility and add a host of new programs to it.

The committee agreed to have a more robust discussion in February, when staff comes back with more details about the animal-services finances and in April, when the Office of the City Auditor completes its detailed audit of the services.

City Manager James Keene emphasized on Tuesday that the shelter has been losing more money in recent years than the city has been anticipating. In fiscal year 2014, the facility had a net cost of $893,403. In the 2015 budget, the net cost is listed as $910,941. The financial losses intensified in 2012, when Mountain View withdrew from its partnership with the facility. At that time, the city considered shutting down the shelter and outsourcing animal services but scrapped the plan after intense community backlash.

Now that the city is in better financial shape, no one is talking about closing the shelter. But Keene said that it's "still hard to ignore the trend line in the report," which suggests that the shelter isn't doing as well as the council hoped.

"At some point we have to deal with the fact that we have some deficiencies in the existing model," Keene said. "We need a facility that is more effective and more contemporary."

That point will come next April, after the audit is competed and more community engagement takes place. Council members said it's important to hear from residents before determining the level of subsidies the shelter should continue to receive.

Councilwoman Karen Holman said the question goes beyond dollars and cents. If the community decides that it is willing to subsidize animal services, that is something the council should consider.

"Our values should determine how we spend our dollars and not the other way around," Holman said. "Is the community behind supporting a subsidy to the animal shelter? I don't have the answer, but I think it's something we should find out and it should be part of any consideration or any decision we make."

Carole Hyde, executive director of Palo Alto Humane Society, briefly presented a revised proposal for partnering with the city. After offering in October 2013 to help the city build a new, state-of-the-art facility, the organization revised its offer in November.

Now, the proposal calls for expanding the existing shelter and adding various educational and community programs. Hyde said the revised proposal "will have the desired result of turning the shelter into a community center."

"We believe the smaller capital project is cost effective and will make the best use of PAHS's resources and strengths," Hyde said.

Councilman Pat Burt said the city should also explore the potential for bringing new partners into the facility. He agreed that it's time to have a "community-values discussions."

He made a motion directing staff to bring back more information about finances and outreach in February. Committee Chair Marc Berman, Vice Mayor Liz Kniss and Holman all supported it.

Related content:

Humane Society scales down plan to rebuild Palo Alto animal shelter

Comments

6 people like this
Posted by BP, no not that BP
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Too bad the Council didn't have this intense a discussion about community values before the City Hall remodeling. But, since the money has already gone down that rat-hole, let's try to make this expenditure, which is for the common good, more thoughtful.















































7 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

What is the definition of "popular"?

What about measuring animal welfare? The shelter has a 78% live release rate, using their own data. Austin, a much larger city than Palo Alto with an overall less wealthy population has 94%. How? By caring about the homeless pets in their city and taking steps to help achieve positive outcomes. And having innovative leadership that strives to save pets' lives as one of the top priorities.

Shouldn't any plan for the animal shelter include an evaluation of the performance of the existing shelter in a variety of areas including:
o animal live release rate
o shelter best practices
o dog licensing compliance
o average length of stay (most animals deteriorate in a shelter environment)

Many municipal shelters have an over 90% live release rate.

That which is measured improves.

Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills residents should be given factual data about the performance of PAAS.


4 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm

That means they kill 22% of the animals that go in there.

Our prison system doesn't do that.


1 person likes this
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

With the economic rebound in recent years the city budget is indeed in better shape as stated. Now there has to be a plan in place to keep it that way, especially when the inevitable downturn occurs.

It is clear that the animal shelter has been steadily losing money. The city and shelter management have to figure out a way for the facility to remain economically sustainable. It sounds like that's what there working on now. If the shelter continues to lose money after whatever plan is implemented, then every option should remain on the table including outsourcing our animal services.

Our city leaders and elected officials have to be responsible and control spending during a good economy, to be prepared for whatever financial challenges that will undoubtedly materialize in the future. It's the smart and responsible thing to do.


4 people like this
Posted by LaNell Mimmack
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

I just read that the top managers in Palo Alto government are getting raises
because the economy is improving. Can somebody tell me how much money is spent yearly for the animal shelter, and did the shelter get a raise?


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Why don't you start by reading the article at the top of the page...


8 people like this
Posted by I.M. Spartacus
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm

If we cannot afford a 100% no-kill shelter (even Las Vegas has one) then who can?

"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Mahatma Gandhi


Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

We don't need our own Animal Shelter. Its a horrible waste of our money. In the previous go around on this it seemed to be clear that when all factors were included outsourcing the services to another local community was a considerable cost savings. Just because we have a shelter does not mean we have to have one. Just because a very vocal small minority were able to bark very loudly doesn't mean that all the Palo Alto residents believe we need this shelter kept here. Does the majority really want to pay this much money for it?


5 people like this
Posted by why not?
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Austin remains on track as No-Kill City
Community rescues more than 90 percent of pets from City shelter
Web Link

Huntsville working to become Alabama's first 'no kill' city for stray pets
Web Link
Web Link

Segoville, TX
Sgt. Bailey, the little shelter that could and did
Web Link

Best Friends Animal Society - "Save Them All"
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Stupid, I guess
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Gethin,

- "Just because a very vocal small minority were able to bark very loudly doesn't mean that all the Palo Alto residents believe we need this shelter kept here"

What a remarkable human being! No bother quoting Gandhi. There is a really thin line between neglecting, incarcerating, and ultimately killing animals and doing the same to other "small minorities" such as ... let me not list them here ... you or someone may not consider worth of living.
Please note, however, that someone stronger than you may consider you to be not worthy, at some point.

Marrol,

"Our city leaders and elected officials have to be responsible and control spending during a good economy, to be prepared for whatever financial challenges that will undoubtedly materialize in the future."

Sweetie, shelters - animal or human, for that matter, always loose money. That is the definition of charity and compassion. Are you vaguely familiar with the concept of giving? It is loosing money, essentially.

The reasoning is hilarious: when the times are tough, we cannot support shelter but when the times are better we cannot too because we need to prepare for when the times are tough.

I did not know that the kill rate is so horrible - 22%. Now, all who think like above, should we implement that at human shelters? Just "outsource them to other communities", like you want to outsource your homeless living in cars, or kill 22%. No person - no problem.

Something is significantly wrong in this community of not very poor people.
This is not a shelter problem, those cats and dogs will take a needle and won't fight back because they trust us. Or go to other communities to take the needle over there. This is about us as people who, I thought, were better than that.

"We saw the enemy and it was us".


1 person likes this
Posted by Phony
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Spartacus There's no way a small civic shelter run by the cops is going to be no kill. They're tasked with public safety as a number one priority. Not all animals that arrive at a shelter can be saved because they don't all have the temperaments to be safe pets. Look to SPCAs for guidance, because that's a realistic and safe model to use. Dangerous animals and those that can't be medically saved must be humanely euthanized and someone responsible has to have that task. PAAS isn't set up to be a sanctuary like Best Friends, nor should they have to be.

It's disappointing how little residents here really know about proper animal welfare and shelter best practices. On the balance, the "live release rate" everyone is suddenly bandying about is actually pretty good.

It is shameful that PAHS can't walk their talk, because it may have been a decent concerted effort to make some great changes. I wonder what the real reasons are they they backed off? And what happened to that self-appointed spokeswoman with the animal shelter app who was trying to change things?


2 people like this
Posted by facts first
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Austin and Segoville Texes shelters are run by their cops and are "no kill" in that they save over 90% of their animals. These are just two examples of municipal shelters that have succeeded. But of course that's in TX.

Best Friends is working with the City of Los Angeles on a program called NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) and having amazing success. But of course that's in Southern California, not in Northern California.

The "live release rate" is one of the main standards by which shelters are measured to gauge their success in animal welfare. A 78% live release rate is good in that it is similar to Stockton's live release rate -- which is at 74%. Stockton is in bankruptcy and has a somewhat poorer set of residents than Palo Alto/Los Altos/Los Altos Hills. But yes, PAAS does perform a few percentage points better than Stockton in live release rate. Shall we celebrate?

BTW, PAAS does not even have the shelter overcrowding problem that Stockton has, or San Jose has, or Oakland has. At PAAS they are careful to keep their adoptable dog runs at half full, or less.


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm

So why do you think PAAS doesn't release more animals? C'mon, use that good brain of yours! Here's a hint for one of server all reasons: landlords.

And of course, the places you cited aren't actually no kill.
"No kill" is a misnomer that's a resurging fad. The shelters that traditionally call themselves no kill, like a local place I won't name, has a rep for adopting out animals that bite and get returned. Or/and they keep animals for a very, very long time, to the animals' detriment.

So does anyone know what happened to the local woman who developed that shelter app and wanted to change everything?


Like this comment
Posted by news item AdoptMeApp
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm

American Red Cross Silicon Valley Technology Hero 2014
AdoptMeApp

“Every Shelter Pet Now Has a New Happy Story”
www.adoptmeapp.org

AdoptMeApp helps homeless pets in shelters and rescue find homes more quickly, thus making room for more animals, therefore saving more animals’ lives.

On average 300 animals in Santa Clara County shelters are looking for homes at any one time. In 2013 alone, more than 5,100 dogs and cats were euthanized. 40% of these - over 2,000 adoptable pets - could have been saved if the proper space and resources were available. One way to increase the use of existing resources is to shorten the time to adoption. That is where AdoptMeApp comes into play.

AdoptMeApp enables volunteers and staff at animal shelters and rescue groups to easily post an ongoing series of snappy quotes complete with a photo about adoptable pets’ daily lives. The app is easy to use and does not require training or social media knowledge. These posts are automatically and instantly published on Twitter as well as the shelters' own website pet profiles, bringing out each pet’s unique personality to a huge new audience of potential adopters. Engagement of volunteers, fosterers, adopters, sponsors and the surrounding community is increased. AdoptMeApp hopes to raise funding to bring additional Bay Area shelters onboard in the next few months, and eventually expand nationwide and worldwide.

Check out the Humane Society Silicon Valley’s adoptable pets’ woofs and meows @AdoptMeCA95035 (AdoptMeApp HSSV)
www.twitter.com/AdoptMeCA95035
(You do not have to have a Twitter account to view the pets’ posts.)

ARCSV press release - Heroes 2014:
Web Link

ARCSV video of AdoptMeApp - "Tech Hero" 2014
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Thanks, but I was asking about the woman who was supposed to be making all the changes at the shelter, who also tried to save that dangerous dog at the shelter that was being blogged about here at PAO. Is she not involved anymore?

Btw, it's not the PDs in Texas who increased the live release rate of animals at their shelters - it was a nonprofit and volunteers.


1 person likes this
Posted by Texas
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Both shelters at Austin TX and Segoville TX are run by those cities. These municipal animal shelters are successful in improving animal welfare for many reasons including that they partner with nonprofits and actively recruit volunteers. Volunteers need a shelter to rally around that embraces their efforts.

To find out more about Austin:
Austin Animal Services – Abigail Smith (Chief Animal Services Officer)| (512) 978-0536 | Abigail.Smith@austintexas.gov


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm

So no one knows why the shelter app woman disappeared from trying to effect change at PAAS? How far did she get?


4 people like this
Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2014 at 9:15 pm


Why is there a huge amount of money to blow on redecorating City Hall, raises for managers, hiring one expensive consultant after another, etc., but they can't spare a few hundred thousand for the animal shelter? Our city government is really screwed up and incompetant, it appears.


1 person likes this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I was at the meeting of the Finance Committee, and I thought it was quite positive. (I'm most definitely a Save Our Shelter person, and I'm now active in Friends of the Palo Alto Shelter, a new non-profit corporation.)

Gennady Shyner has done a great job of summarizing the content and tone of the meeting. City Manager Jim Keene wants the idea of an all-new shelter to remain one of the possibilities. He described it a "more robust" proposal than the revised PAHS version. Nobody is saying no to any of the ideas. They are waiting for information from a variety of sources before they make a decision or endorse a plan. It seems to me that they are asking the right questions.

The issue of no-kill shelters is a bit of a red herring. Maddie's Fund, a generous foundation that works to reduce the number of euthanasias performed at shelters evaluates the live release rates of all the shelters in Santa Clara County. The evaluations are based in large part on the Asilomar Accords, in which animal advocates worked to define what animals are valid candidates for euthanasia.

Palo Alto Animal Services is required by Maddie's Fund to keep careful, verifiable records of animals coming into the shelter and animals leaving the shelter alive. PAAS is one of two shelters in the county required to accept all over-the-counter animal surrenders. If the animal lives in Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Los Altos Hills, it is the job of PAAS to accept it, give it medical attention, and evaluate its suitability as an adoptable animal. And these evaluations go on as long as the animal is a resident at PAAS--with volunteers and staff spending hours daily playing with, socializing, and training the animals.

When a shelter claims a 100% live release rate, I urge you to read the fine print. They are not saying 100% of animals who come into the shelter go out alive. That is not true at any legitimate shelter.


1 person likes this
Posted by questions for Scottie
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:31 am

1) You state "PAAS is one of two shelters in the county required to accept all over-the-counter animal surrenders." According to your statement there is only ONE other shelter in Santa Clara County that accepts all animal surrenders. Which shelter is that? And which ones don't accept animal surrenders? Be careful to check the facts on their websites before answering this question.

Austin is also a municipal shelter and accepts all animal surrenders. They have a 94% Live Release Rate.

2) What exactly are the Maddie's Fund statistics for PAAS? Since they are obligated by Maddie's Fund to keep track of Live Release Rate...those numbers must be available. Facts and data trump rhetoric.

3) What shelter claims a 100% live release rate? No one in this discussion except you has said that any shelter claims that.

You may think that "no kill" is a red herring, but that's your personal opinion. The cities of Los Angeles, Reno, Austin, Huntsville, and hundreds of others have a different opinion, and have either achieved or are striving for a Live Release Rate of 90% or greater. These are all also municipal/county shelters.


2 people like this
Posted by HereIsAnIdea
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

Rather than argue about the adoption rate, here is an idea to boost it: PAAS has a huge asset that is completely unutilized, its location.

Positioned along 101 is a gold mine.

Put up an electronic sign with cute images of adoptable pets, or short clips of the pet playing. Make it large and visible to cars stuck on 101 during Rush hour.

You'll have no problem adopting pets out to good homes. This might improve their finances as well.

Use the Assets you've got!


Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

REPSONSES FROM SCOTTIE

1. I was in error when I said there were two shelters that cannot reject animals for intake. The other shelter I had in mind is San Jose Animal Care & Services--the facility on Monterey Rd. However at this time, their website states that they are no longer accepting owner-surrendered animals.

A lot of the time, shelters in Santa Clara County do accept over-the-counter surrenders, but with conditions.... SVACA and HSSV (which are wonderful places), reserve the right to reject specific animals OR to offer euthanasia as an alternative, for $150 or more. HSSV has described its intake process on their website, a process that includes at least one lengthy interview with owner/surrender person and the animal. At acceptance, the owner is required to pay a hefty fee for turning over the animal. (Again, in the neighborhood of $150-$165.) There have been times when SVACA has posted, in RED, on its website that they are not accepting any over-the-counter surrendered animals--except for euthanasia, $150. I believe that both SVACA and HSSV are willing to negotiate the price they charge for accepting an animal. Their websites state the rules "by the book," but circumstances may determine final outcome? PAAS takes in each animal at no charge.

Good for Austin! Kudos! I salute their success.

2. As stated by "anonymous" at the top of these comments, the PAAS live release rate (submitted to Maddie's Fund annually in order to maintain status as a beneficiary of Maddie's Fund financial awards) is 78%. The annual reports of PAAS statistics are posted on the Animal Services section of the City website, "Asilomar-Maddie's Fund Reports." The reports for 2007 through 2013 are listed/linked.

3. I see no other way to interpret "no-kill" except as 100% live release. No-kill = 100% live, eh? And there are times when shelters in the Bay Area tell supporters that they find homes for 100% of their animals. When I see that, I infer that they find homes for 100% of the animals who qualify as "healthy" according to the Asilomar Accords. In fact, they try to find homes for "unhealthy" animals who have health problems that can be managed by a responsible owner. The definitions are all in the Asilomar Accords. In other words, the 100% or no-kill standard does not apply to animals with severe injuries, advanced disease, complications of old age, and behavior problems such as severe aggression.

PAAS has had animals who are adopted after leg amputations, with diabetes, and with other manageable health conditions. During the past year PAAS took in a 20-year-old cat (and her younger male friend), and they were adopted together. We currently have one cat age 17, another age 15, and one age 9 -- all "seniors" and all up for adoption. PAAS is not a no-kill shelter, and neither is Austin. Maddie's Fund has accepted/approved the PAAS live release rate and has provided financial support in various forms. PAAS is a member of Shelters First, a consortium of Santa Clara County shelters.


1 person likes this
Posted by SVACA info
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm

SVACA Info from their website
88% Live Release Rate Overall 2013
92% Live Release Rate for dogs 2013
Goal for 2014 - 90% Live Release Rate

SVACA homepage
Web Link

Welcome to SVACA

The Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) provides the cities of Campbell, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, and Santa Clara with the care of sick, injured, lost and abandoned companion animals, animal cruelty investigations, enforcement of animal laws, education and outreach programs, volunteer and foster programs, and so much more. We place all of our healthy and treatable animals as well as many of our unhealthy and untreatable animals from our cageless Animal Care Center which resulted in an overall live release rate of 88% in 2013. Our adoption program is open to all Bay Area residents. We're proud to be one of the Bay Area's "Best Municipal Shelters" according to Bay Woof Magazine.

SVACA Statistics Page
Web Link

Since our inception on July 1, 2001, we here at SVACA have strived to deliver top notch and progressive services to our community and its animals. Before we opened the doors to our cageless Animal Care Center on November 14, 2006, we were determined to operate a premier center and thus far have accomplished a great deal.

SVACA's Animal Care Center is "open door" or "open admission" which means we receive all stray animals that come our way whether they are aggressive, feral, sick or injured. We also receive owner surrendered animals from our member agency cities. Yet, from day one, we set a lofty goal to ensure that all of our healthy animals find new homes. From 2006-08, we saved all of our healthy animals. In the years 2009-12, we not only saved all of our healthy animals, but all treatable animals as well.

In 2013, we once again saved all healthy and treatable animals as well as many of our unhealthy and untreatable animals and ended the year with an overall live release rate of 88%. 92% of dogs, 84% of cats, and 91% of 'other' animals (rabbits, hamsters, birds, reptiles, etc.) were saved.

SVACA reports our statistics here because we believe in transparency and being an open agency. The collection and publication of this data is sponsored by Maddie's Fund. SVACA has received grant funds from Maddie’s Fund which are used to save lives and assist with some expenses associated with our low cost spay and neuter program. The statistics are reported via the Asilomar Accords which were developed by a group of animal welfare industry leaders from across the nation "...for the purpose of building bridges across varying philosophies, developing relationships and creating goals focused on significantly reducing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals in the United States."

Our goal for 2014 is to increase our overall live release rate to 90%, but we need your help. There is still a tremendous amount of work for us to do and we cannot do it alone. We rely on our volunteers, foster parents and donors to help us help the animals. We also rely on our placement partners such as those who are a part of We C.A.R.E, a coalition of animal shelters and rescue groups who are working together to reduce euthanasia in Santa Clara County. Other important partners who have been instrumental in our feral freedom program are Town Cats and Peninsula Fix Our Ferals, and the ASPCA. Please browse our web site to find out what you can do to be a part of the solution from having your animal altered at our low cost clinic, to volunteering, to being a foster parent, to donating to our Animal Assistance Fund to help give animals a second chance.


Like this comment
Posted by TheFinePrint
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I worry about everyone throwing out these "success" and "live release rate" numbers. There are huge loopholes in the Maddie's Fund definitions. A shelter gets to decide what unhealthy/sick/ healthy mean, and gets to decide whether an animal has behavior problems. So a kitten with ringworm (ringworm is virtually the same as athletes foot) or a runny nose (feline equivalent of a cold) is unhealthy and gets euthanized. A kitten or cat who hisses or cowers in a cage out of fear is feral or unsocialized...and gets euthanized. A dog who is depressed and fearful (and who wouldn't be, in a shelter?) ...euthanized.

There is enormous pressure to have "good" numbers, so the fibbing takes place on the assessments. It is very very easy to declare an animal unadoptable for behavior or health reasons. Don't put any stock in the numbers unless you know exactly where the numbers came from, and what pressure were put on the people who had to meet these numbers.

In fact I would say that the whole Maddie's Fund push to play by the numbers is a very mixed blessing, and has a very real downside. Now that shelters know what there numbers have to be, they can do the assessments that deliver the required numbers...even if not much else has changed. So let's not argue about numbers that were put together as shelter PR, OK?

Apart from that, SVACA does not have an open door for surrenders, no matter what their published policy says. I have tested this personally (not by surrendering, just calling to see if they were accepting surrenders). Among other things, they run out of space, and taking in surrenders would require more euthanasia and that would make their numbers look bad. Their numbers look better if those animals are abandoned on the streets. Sad state of affairs.


1 person likes this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

To SVACA Info and others. I have the greatest respect and admiration for SVACA! I've visited their facility several times, and I think they do a great job with all their animals. In fact, on our FoPAAS website "Affiliates" page, SVACA is one of several local shelters we admire & support. Web Link

Meanwhile, there are times when SVACA and other shelters are too crowded to accept owner-surrendered animals. Here's some text from today's SVACA website on the subject of animal surrender:

"If you have exhausted all options, Campbell, Monte Sereno, Mountain View and Santa Clara residents can surrender companion animals to SVACA’s Animal Care Center. We do request an owner surrender fee to offset the cost of caring for your animal. The fee for a dog or cat is $150.00...."

PAAS is run by the City and does not/cannot charge a fee.

This does not make SVACA or any shelter "wrong." It's an understandable policy when there are too many animals in need of good homes. That's the real problem--bunches of unwanted puppies & kittens and dogs & cats. SVACA, HSSV, PAAS, PAHS, and all the other Bay Area shelters are fighting back with low-cost spay/neuter campaigns. HSSV has offered FREE spay/neuter for Chihuahuas because there are so many going homeless.

Wagaroo (developed by two women at Stanford) is an ingenious on-line "match-making" website that helps people who WANT to adopt find the dog that suits their preferences--without leaving home. Helps avoid the tedium of driving from one shelter to another, or driving to the same shelter every other week in hopes of finding the perfect dog. Wagaroo solves the problem from the other side--bring the dogs (photos & descriptions) to the people that want them. Check it out at this URL Web Link

Let me say again, emphatically, that I am a great fan of SVACA, HSSV, SF-SPCA, OAS, PHS, SJ-AC&S, and more. We are fortunate that our area has so many excellent shelters. PAAS hopes to upgrade its facilities to be more in tune with the friendlier presentation of adoptable animals exemplified at SVACA, HSSV, and PHS in Burlingame.


1 person likes this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

On Facebook today I found another great example of networking between shelters and rescue groups. Our Pack Web Link is a hardworking volunteer organization that focuses on rescuing pit bulls and chihuahuas. When they found a neglected pit bull recently, they realized that they needed help with him, and HSSV took him in. He's getting the medical care he needs, socialization, and affection from the great volunteers & staff at HSSV. So his future is much brighter.

Our Pack has a great Facebook page. If you "like" it, you receive several sweet photos every day, showing chihuahuas and pit bulls in foster homes, living together joyfully. Our Pack also offers dog training classes for owners of pit bulls.


Like this comment
Posted by OurPack question for Scottie
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm

What is the name of that "neglected pit bull" that you are referring to?


Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2014 at 4:17 am

There was a photo of the dog in an Our Pack Facebook posting, but no name was provided. The photo also showed another pit bull named Dexter who is good at calming & reassuring new dogs. The post mentions that the dog came from, "...not such a great situation." From this (and the photo), I inferred some neglect in his life before Our Pack rescued him.

Why do you care about the dog's name?


1 person likes this
Posted by pit bull Christopher
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

Web Link
(above is the link to the OurPack FB post with photo of the dog)

Our Pack, Inc.

Rescue groups and shelters networking to saves lives is where it's at. This is not the norm that we see, but, a couple of weeks ago this boy (left) was found in not such a great situation.We had a difficult time getting a permanent foster so we were able to work with our partners and friends at Humane Society Silicon Valley to help this lovely boy. He's getting care and medical treatment that he needs at HSSV and Our Pack, Inc. will provide some training, socialization and, of course, seen here, Dexter will guide him on what clothes to wear! His name is Christopher he will be available at www.hssv.org shortly. We'll keep you posted on his progress. We're in love after meeting this sweet boy. You will be too. Many thanks to HSSV!


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

I have the same question as Memories, which isn't controversial at all, and never should've been removed: Did that poor dog who is thankfully recovering have demodex? It's very common in blue pit bulls.

Too many dogs are pts over skin conditions like this, and other easily treatable medical issues. I'm relieved that from San Francisco on down into the South Bay, shelters generally try to treat animals with these conditions, even though it's troublesome and ends up being expensive. This goes for ringworm with cats, for example.


2 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Scottie asked why a poster asked about a dog's name. Names are important. They give people and pets an identity. Maybe I'm way off (wouldn't be the first time!), but my feeling is that people tend to care more if animals have names. I remember an incident in New York a couple years ago, where Mayor Bloomberg mentioned the name of a policeman and the name of his horse. I was so moved and impressed, as normally "police horse" would have been said. Anyway, just my take on it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 10, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

No surprise that PAHS didn't follow through. They do so love to boss around other agencies.


2 people like this
Posted by PAHS bossiness
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hmmm - if you have a complaint about PAHS (Palo Alto Humane Society) please be specific so the rest of us can have the information you have. Please give some examples of PAHS "bossing around other agencies".

How does a small nonprofit - PAHS - have the power to "boss around" other organizations? What tools do they use? What organizations have they "bossed around" and when did they do this "bossing around"? And what exactly did they do that can be categorized as "bossing around"?

Specifics trump generalities. While bossiness can be considered bad, in some situations it may be useful and accomplish a purpose. But sadly without any specifics your comment only comes across as mean-spirited.

In any case it would be useful for all of us participating in this discussion to have the facts upon which you make your claim.

Thanks in advance for sharing!


2 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm

As if going into detail will help anyone. Love that reasoning because it's usually a trap. People knowing what they know and then giving examples isn't going to change anything, once the damage was already done by PAHS not walking their talk.

Who are all these new commenters using never before used names?


2 people like this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2014 at 12:36 am

Nora Charles (and others), I made a mistake when I skimmed Our Pack's post about the pit bull they rescued. I didn't see or remember that the dog's name is Christopher. And he's now in the care of HSSV, an example of the ways that shelters and rescue groups cooperate for the good of the animals.

I agree that giving name to an adoptable animal is important. It seems to me that ALL shelters and rescue groups in this area assign names to dogs & cats in their care. Also rabbits, rats, parrots, cockatiels, guinea pigs, and so on.


1 person likes this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Yes, exactly, Memories. The agencies know it, and some others involved in local animal welfare.


3 people like this
Posted by SVACA Nov 2014 Live Release Rate = 97%
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

Posted on the SVACA Facebook page

Web Link

Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority

97% Live Release Rate in November!

Through the terrific work of our staff and volunteers in conjunction with the help of our shelter and placement partners, we saved 97% of our animals in November.

Incredibly, every dog either went to a new home, was returned to their home, or was placed with a placement partner.

Also, 96% of our cats and 100% of our rabbits, birds, etc. had positive outcomes. We could not have accomplished this without the support of our generous donors. Won't you please consider our various giving options which can be found at Web Link?

Happy Holidays from all of us at SVACA!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

SVACA live release rate for Nov = total numbers game.


2 people like this
Posted by Tomas
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Close this shelter. Outsource the service just like Mt View did and use the money to do something better in the City.


Like this comment
Posted by Jones
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by Jane
a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


4 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Jane,

That was a rather aggressive post. It's not time for the shelter to shut down; it is time for a much needed renovation of the facility. But thanks for the offer.

By the way, Interesting three posts came in within about 25 minutes of each other, following a post from last December.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:49 am

If they're from the same ip address, we'll see a couple deletions.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I don't know, it is a tough question. When it comes to money. I think the City should do what would be best for the City. I love animals and I know some of employees at shelter and they are good people BUT if SVACA is performing a great job for Mt View Why not give SVACA a shot. I know that the same situation came up years ago about closing or not closing the shelter. I wish the City would make a final decision in the next few months or so. BUT if you ask me, I would give SVACA a chance. I am 25 years old and I think it is time for innovation or try something new, my mom and grandma grew up going to this shelter and they are all about keeping it open. But I wish the best for the future of the animals with SVACA or not.


7 people like this
Posted by Here we go again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Heard from an Animal Control officer today that Palo Alto wants to divest itself of the shelter and all animal control personnel, citing lack of money. Surely, MONEY is not the real reason, as the money-wasting by the city is all around us and quite lavish, too.

What is the matter with the dolls in charge?????


10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

The city is pleading poverty after spending $4.5 MILLION to renovate the first floor of City Hall plus another $330,000 this year for interactive art to tell us where/who we are???

They're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for social media consultants to tell us how great the city is but they don't have money for the animal shelter?

Do whatever's needed for our animal shelter and stop the spin!


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Please sign the petition to save our animal shelter at the following link:

Web Link

and please share it with your friends and neighbors.


10 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm

I just moved to Los Altos from Boston and I had to go get my dogs license. I stopped at this shelter and OMG this place is falling apart. I don't know the issue with the City and the shelter but my niece who lives in Los Altos kinda told me about it, so I have no say regarding it. I just have one thing I have to say here about this place, The customer service is HORRIBLE. I spoke with a very RUDE lady named CALE or DELL I don't remember her name for sure and I don't want to get into details, but I will never,never, never go back to that shelter again. I am just posting here because I am from Los Altos and Los Altos contracts out this shelter.


8 people like this
Posted by Ross
a resident of Monroe Park
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Why not contract out the service? If it means saving money to do something else in the City I am all for closing the shelter. PAAS has done its job but it is time to move on for the better. Most of the people posting here are PAAS volunteers and of course don't want to see PAAS closing down, but most of them have not visit other shelter in the area. Go and visit Milpitas Animal Shelter, SVACA shelter, San Jose SPCA, they are way ahead and PAAS has stopped in the 80's. Even if the City make a new shelter who is going to pay for it and to maintain it running. " US tax payers right". So , I think the City should not only listen to PAAS volunteers but everyone in the City. It is fact by the City manager, the shelter is not making any money but using city money since they lost Mt View the number is out there to see it. I agreed with some people here lets give SVACA a chance, according to many SVACA is doing a good job in Mt View, Santa Clara, Monte Serrano and Campbell. I don't have anything against PAAS, it is just it makes more sense to me to move on.


8 people like this
Posted by Pelegrine
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2015 at 7:57 am

Good luck for this shelter cause it is not looking so good. The same thing happenned to my shelter about fews back. I was an Animal Control Officer and we had 18 employees but things were not doing so good money wise. The city tried its best to save the shelter, we hung around for one or 2 more years but in the end more money went out. The best things was that, we got outsourced to a great shelter and we new that the animals would be in great hands. Now, the bad thing is that I was making $29 dollars per hour working for the city enforcing the law but now I am making $12 at Petshop. Not funny especially now that I moved to Menlo Park. But when it comes to save money it is what it is.


2 people like this
Posted by new info about PAAS
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2015 at 7:29 pm

I heard from a friend that there have been public meetings about the shelter, held by the City of Palo Alto.

At the meeting a few days ago, on Thursday evening April 9, 2015, it was announced that a new report is available. Here is the email that was sent out:

START QUOTE

"Attached is the Animal Services Audit...(it can) be found here on the City’s website."
Web Link
"The audit has a lot of information including the results of a survey. Appendix 7 which start on page 69 summarizes the findings and presents next steps."
From: Alaee, Khashayar <Khashayar.Alaee@CityofPaloAlto.org>

END QUOTE

I have no further information as I have not attended any of the meetings.

It's odd this thread sprang to life again.




6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 11, 2015 at 8:51 pm

1) The petition I posted above has a return date of 4/19, not that it will make its numbers.

2) Thanks for the web link above. Odd that it's dated 4/22 when today is only 4/11.

3) Odd that there's the expectation that the shelter should make money, cut expenditures and that maybe we need a bond issue about future expenditures. It seems the total budget for the last 15 years was around $1,113,000 and revenues were about $500,000. (I skimmed quickly; someone else might want to dig deeper.)

Did we have a bond issue re the $4,830,000 City 1st floor redecoration and "wayfaring art," a SINGLE year expenditure? How much revenue will that generate? What's the cost savings of the single human clerk who's going to be displaced? Will the city budget shrink to reflect that cost savings?

3a) They admit the center's been under-staffed.

4) The report says the shelter is under-funded but that everyone who's used it gives it very high ratings. It's experiencing lower revenues now that another munipality pulled out.

5) The report spends a lot of space analyzing a survey that had only 644 respondents. 4 City auditors worked on the 80-page report.

I'm a dog owner; I don't recall getting a survey. None of my dog park buddies got one either. Identifying dog owners should be easy for the city since we all pay license fees.

6) The shelter got a LOT of money over the years but I don't recall ever seeing a city-wise fundraising drive or anything rivaling all the costly pr campaigns we see for community outreach, utility newsletters, etc. etc. I never got a shelter-related survey asking, "If you wouldn't spend X for Y, how about this?"

6) If the shelter's not there, what happens to our pets who might happen to escape our yards?? Where do we go for lost license tags?

We've got a LOT of pet owners here. Supporting and fixing the shelter should be a priority.

Maybe should get with the times and demand a "Pet Wayfaring" interactive art work to go with a refurbushed shelter it will be more appealing to management!


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm

6 should read got a lot of DONATIONS, not a lot of money. Sorry about that.


Like this comment
Posted by Cobain
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm

A friend of my sister was in a public meeting regarding the animal shelter held few days back and the friend told US that most people she talked to and who are in favor of keeping the shelter running don't have no idea about the amount of money used to keep a shelter running. They only know and believe what they hear from PAAS volunteers and they keep saying that the city has the money and the city used a lot of money to fixed the city hall this the city wants to build a new police station.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Cobain, very interesting about the public meeting. Too bad none of our expensive "community outreach" consultants reached out to the community. You could find us pretty easily at the dog parks and/or through the dog licenses and/or through all the emails and mailings the city sends out.

The ONLY notice about this issue was flyer about the petition at the dog parks even though the city undertook major work at the Mitchell Park Dog Park from 4/8-10.

Since they managed to post many laminated signs about the annual dog park maintenance starting last week, you'd think they could have told us about the public meeting. I subscribe to every list the city puts out and I saw nothing about public meetings.

What's the annual budget for outreach consultants and pr staff/consultants vs the shelter's budget?


6 people like this
Posted by Conon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2015 at 8:29 am

OMG, I remember that about 2 to 3 years ago the city was talking about closing this shelter. I got a job overseas and while driving to SFO the last thing i heard from my mom and her friend was about this shelter. I came back two weeks ago and the first thing I heard from my mom at the airport was about this shelter again OMG. The same thing i told my mom I tell you guys, People gotta move on and let things go sometimes. My mom and her friends said that the city can't do that to them and that the city likes to use money to do things that are not needed in the city, but to keep the shelter alive there is no money. I think people in PA don't care about the animals. I think people in PA are locked in this fight with the city to see who has the last word. Move on Palo Altans let it be and accept what would and could be the best thing for yours and all animals even if that means closing the shelter and outsource the service. Look some people who are posting here are so serius about the issue but they are not even using their real name. Online name, new inf about PAAS come on.


6 people like this
Posted by Mario
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Welcome back Connon. PA has not changed a thing. And it will never do. As you said Palo Altans are locked in fight with city council members and that is all. I feel bad for the animals. I bet my mom knows your mom. they don't get it. They don't know the amount of $$$$ used to build or maintain a shelter. I think PA don't need to have its own shelter just contract out the service.


4 people like this
Posted by Mc Greggor
a resident of Hoover School
on Apr 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm

To all of you, the City Council Members don't read these posting. It is a waste of time for you and for me to be posting here. I remember 3 years ago all the drama around this topic and nothing changed. I hear my neighbor talking about the dogs, cats, rabbits at this shelter and what's going to happen to them, I told her if the shelter closes some other shelter will take care of them, as simple as that. I think the blame should be on the city council because they don't decide. They let the people talking, thinking and complaining and in the end i believe nothing is GOING TO HAPPEN.


5 people like this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Drawbacks of contracting out animal services for Palo Alto, Los Altos & Los Altos Hills: (1) You'd have to drive a bit farther to visit the shelter, pick up a found pet, etc. (2) You'd have to wait longer for an Animal Control Officer (ACO) to respond if you have an animal-related problem--deer caught in fence, dead raccoon in your driveway, loose dog in your neighborhood, etc.

Other shelters in Santa Clara County want to keep the Palo Alto shelter open, partly because it's the northern outpost in the WECare/Shelters First consortium. Our shelter is important to a lot of people who don't live in Palo Alto but come to PAAS for low cost vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, in search of a lost pet, or to find a pet they can adopt.

No doubt we have difficulties ahead (I include myself in the large group who want to retain the shelter and refurbish/remodel it to bring it up to the modern standard for progressive animal services). Nobody knows where we'll get the money required, and we don't assume the City will pay the freight on its own. We have to collaborate and cooperate with various interested groups and find ways to solve the big problem of $$$. But we're learning, sharing, and being inspired by examples of success all around the Bay Area.


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm

You say the city's not reading these posts. Probably not.

But with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for social media and outreach programs and broad-brush surveys, they should be.


Like this comment
Posted by Roxy
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Nicely put, Scottie.



















8 people like this
Posted by Tina
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:55 am

Closing the shelter or not, I think we should check all the facts first. We all love our pets, but according to the city manager it is not working and no money is coming in only out. I don't work for the city and I don't know how in deep the shelter is, so if i could vote i would vote to close it. Because i have seen the numbers put out there by the city. I used PAAS few times and it is an ok shelter my only down side about the shelter is the customer service which if i could give some stars i would give PAAS 1. As Mark already posted one or two employees of the shelter are VERY RUDE especially if someone walks in the shelter with a pitbull, bulldog or any big dog or even if someone asks three or more question.


2 people like this
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Fiscal year 2012, the PAAS budget was set at approx. $1.8 million. Of which the City paid $700,000 and the shelter "earned" $1.1 million. This had been the pattern for a number of years.

One big source of income for PAAS was the $400,000 annual fee paid by Mountain View so their pets and owners could enjoy the services of PAAS. When Mountain View elected NOT to renew their contract with PAAS and to partner with SCVACA instead, the division of dollars for the PAAS budget was flipped: PAAS "earning" $700,000 and the City making up the difference with $1.1 million.

In the face of community action on behalf of the shelter, the City determined not to close and outsource animal services. Steps were taken to try to reduce the City's expenditure for PAAS and increase PAAS earnings. Staff reduction, from 14 people down to 8--with retirement, resignation, and layoffs--saved some money. A campaign to increase dog licensing and to increase the number of spay/neuter surgeries was meant to earn $$ for PAAS. The City also decided to use approx. $200,000 accumulated from gifts donated to the shelter to replace some of the funds lost from Mountain View's defection.

Which might have worked, except in June 2013 the shelter lost both of its Veterinary Technicians (one retired, one resigned to go to another job). With no vet techs on staff, PAAS was unable to offer spay/neuter surgeries to the public. Our hard working veterinarian was forced to focus on surgeries only for the incoming animals for adoption. And it took an entire year for the City to select and approve two replacement vet techs. During that time we were not earning anything for spay/neuter.

In June 2014 the City hired two new vet techs, and we were back in business. After a few months, however, one of the vet techs left, so PAAS is again handicapped in the number of surgeries they can do. No one knows how long it will take to hire another vet tech. Stuff happens.

The current round of meetings & discussions between the City and people who want to refurbish/improve the shelter focuses on what has to happen to qualify as success for the shelter.

The Finance Committee, made up of 4 City Council members, meets on Wednesday, April 22nd, and one BIG item on their agenda is Animal Services. I encourage anyone who's interested to attend that meeting to hear the latest stage of the discussion around the shelter.


Like this comment
Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Here is the text of an email from the City Auditor's office. You can see and download the audit report on Palo Alto Animal Services. There is also a link to the agenda for the Finance Committee meeting on April 22nd.

We've released the audit report concerning Palo Alto Animal Services. The report is posted on our website at: Web Link and is scheduled for presentation by our office to the Palo Alto Finance Committee on April 22. The meeting agenda is at: Web Link in case you would like to attend. If you have any questions regarding the audit report, please contact City Auditor Harriet Richardson at (650) 329-2629 or Harriet.Richardson@CityofPaloAlto.org.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 5,962 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 901 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 714 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 651 views