Animal Services Center busy but outdated | February 10, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - February 10, 2012

Animal Services Center busy but outdated

City's options include relocating services or folding operation

by Gennady Sheyner

Just south of Palo Alto's Municipal Services Center on East Bayshore Road stands a squat building in which dogs slightly outnumber humans. The Animal Services Center houses scores of dogs and cats and has also been known to accommodate goats, rabbits and rats.

The number of feline occupants typically spikes during the summer, Animal Services Center Superintendent Sandra Stadler said, but during a recent tour most of the cages in the dog and cat rooms were filled. Though slightly cramped, with narrow corridors, the facility is well kept, having undergone a series of repairs, including new heating and ventilation systems and landscaping improvements, in 2009.

The 40,000-square-foot building was constructed in the early 1970s and has been providing animal services to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills since 1993. Though it boasts a wide variety of services, including spaying and neutering, it has a hard time competing with larger and more modern operations such as the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority. That regional facility, based in Sunnyvale, was built in 2006 and boasts a cage-free animal-services center.

Palo Alto's animal center, which contains 29 dog kennels and 57 cat cages, has gotten progressively busier in recent years, largely because of the economic downturn, Stadler said.

"We really are seeing a lot more surrendered animals," Stadler said.

Stadler said the facility's small size has forced staff to be creative. One room has two rows of dog kennels arranged in a way that requires dogs on one side to face their counterparts on the other side. Recognizing that this positioning could aggravate the tenants, staff installed plastic visors at the bottom of the kennels to block the view.

"We've had to utilize every square inch we have," Stadler said. "We have to be very flexible."

Stadler said she is proud of the facility's quality of services. She noted that more than 65 percent of the dogs the shelter picks up find their way back home. The rate for cats is between 10 percent and 15 percent. While that figure may seem low, it soars above the national average of roughly 2 percent, Stadler said.

One resident of the Animal Services Center is Ella Mae, a geriatric Pomeranian who — having been adopted by the staff — spends her afternoons in a crate in the reception area. Stadler said that when Ella Mae was found in downtown Palo Alto, she had no hair and was so overweight that she turned blue when flipped on her back. She also appeared to have a broken leg, though it later turned out that she was suffering from bone cancer that was eating into her nerves. She was given two months to live. That was 18 months ago.

Today, Ella Mae looks sprightly, pleased and well-groomed. She sports a black coat and is quick to protest when another dog in the reception area gets a treat.

"She is a shining example of what makes this place so wonderful," Stadler said.

But staff's efforts to make do with an outdated facility weren't enough to satisfy the City of Mountain View, which decided last year to withdraw from its 18-year partnership with the Animal Services Center, citing the building's seismic deficiencies and its long list of needed repairs. The Mountain View City Council opted to contract with the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority once its contract with Palo Alto expires in 2014. This decision will decrease Palo Alto's annual revenues by about $450,000 — a tough blow for an operation with an annual budget of about $1.7 million.

Changes could be afoot for the Animal Services Center, if Palo Alto were to pursue a land swap with local car dealerships.

The city's Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission in December recommended moving the center to a city-owned site near the former Los Altos Sewage Treatment Plant at the end of San Antonio Road, just a short stroll south of the existing Municipal Services Center. The site, Stadler said, could potentially be a "phenomenal location" for the animal operation, though she noted that the plan is still far in the distance.

While moving the Animal Services Center to the sewage-treatment plant site is one option, another one is scrapping the operation altogether. The Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission report states that in light of Mountain View's recent decision to withdraw from the partnership, Palo Alto "needs to take this loss of revenue into account while also considering the option of obtaining its animal services through Santa Clara County or the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority, as other cities do."


Posted by Mark, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Well, sad news regarding shelter. I love to go there see the animals, but city is broke and maybe is time to move on and obtaining animal service from another city. Or perhaps to keep the shelter running cuts should be made. One example instead of having all employees working full time reduce to part-time only.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Agreed with Mark! If the city make the employees part-time instead of full time, perhaps money could be saved and the shelter get some lift-up and keep running. Would be a win-win for everybody.

Posted by Lis, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I liked the idea of part-time instead full time. If it helps keep the shelter running the City should go for...

Posted by Jim, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

My brother works in a shelter up north and it is small just Palo Alto shelter. They were having the same problems up there and to save the shelter the manager decided to make half of the staffs to part-time. My brother who was a full time Animal Control Officer became a part-time Officer. Now the shelter has One senior full time Officer, two part-time and two on-call officers. The part-time officers also share the kennel duties. Also office staffs had their hours cut too. It has been three years now and the shelter is doing great and going strong and nobody got the boots. Think about this idea Palo Alto Shelter... I wish the best...

Posted by Laura, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Come down people! I know Sandra Stadler and I am pretty sure that if it comes to save the shelter She will make some employees part-time that it's for sure. She knows that the City is not kidding regarding the budge and the shelter needs some lift-up. I believe that Stadler wants to keep the shelter running, but I have to agree that the part-time idea it's not a bad idea.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

In the past 10 years, both my dogs have escaped from my yard to explore. Thankfully, PAAS Animal Control Officers were on the job and picked them up for safe keeping till I could bail them out. I wonder whether the crew from Sunnyvale would be as available for rescuing loose dogs in Palo Alto?

Posted by Don, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

The Animal Control officers from PAAS are the best I agree. But, I don't think the City needs all them driving around all the time. I believe there are four Animal Control Officers and to save money the City could make two full time and two part-time seasonal only. Just like the City rangers are! Also the City could change some office employees from the shelter to part-time only. There are many ways to keep the shelter running just has to think about them...

Posted by Pete, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hey Scottie, I understand and agree that the Animal Officers do a great job in the City, but you have to understand that things are pretty bad at the shelter. The Palo Alto shelter is old, small and really, really, really needs an up-date in all aspect. Even the manager at the shelter" Stadler" had recognized the situation. The City is working against the shelter and there is no money in the City, but there are ideas that could help in someways. Just like some ideas that people already wrote! The part-time idea, is not bad and it would work just fine. Now the way I see is that the shelter's manager "Stadler" and employees don't want to compromise. Now it's up to them to decide if they want to keep their jobs by perhaps working as a part-time only or lose their jobs. Also I don't think the City gives a crap for what we are posting here, so it would be to the shelter's manager to make the first step. Think about it Scottie...

Posted by Guy Incognito, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Let's clarify a few things. The staff and officers of Palo Alto Animal Services serve 4 cities (Palo Alto, Los altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mtn View.) Cutting staffing and reducing the officers really isn't a good idea. I know them, and know they are already over worked as it is.

Referring to what Don said, all the officers aren't "all driving around all the time" Officers are on duty 7 days a week, and on call for emergencies at night, everyday (holidays included) On any given day there should be 2 officers on duty for all 4 cities on staggered shifts. And some days there is only one officer on duty! You can't expect to have 1 or 2 full time officers to take on that load. People require weekends, vacations, and sick time... If anything they need more officers!

The animal shelter exists to help homeless animals find homes. But it's primary purpose is public safety. Animals in running in traffic: is a hazard. Aggressive animals loose ans scared: is a hazard. Testing animals that could transmit disease to humans: is public health. All important services the city cant afford to loose.

I know Palo Alto Online just did an article on the shelter which sheds light on it. But take it into perspective: The city had an approx. budget of $143 million in 2011. The Animal Shelters budget was $1.7 million. A preverbal drop in the preverbal bucket. (the shelter actually MAKES MONEY with its spay and neuter clinic!) The city has many other areas where they could save money. FIVE libraries? Come on...

Posted by Boyou, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Well, GUY just look at Modesto and other Counties. Especially Modesto the Animal Control Officers were reduced from five Officers to two Officers and they cover much, much more than Officers in Palo Alto. Also to GUY the City already said it does not to keep the Shelter running anymore and does not want put more money into it. BY having part-time Officers and staffs the City would save money on Vacations, retirement, insurance, etc. And the City would might keep the shelter running. Now do way I see the situation. The shelter will get shut- down and all the employees will lose their jobs.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

Full Disclosure: I've been a volunteer at PAAS for 5 or 6 years. So I would really miss the place if Palo Alto decided to have Sunnyvale take over our animal-shelter needs. Keeping me happy is NOT the point, of course. I do want to share some of the stories of abandoned animals that have come into PAAS and lived to find wonderful homes.

ROSEANNE, a hefty (80-lb) 6-year-old pit bull was picked up as a stray. She passed all the health and behavior tests, and went up for adoption. She lived at PAAS for 7-8 months before a nice young man adopted her. During that time, volunteers & staff spent hours every day with Roseanne, on long walks, in the play area, and sometimes in the office. At least once during her long stay with us, I ended up walking her for 2 hours -- because she was the only dog waiting for adoption, I could spend my 2-hour time slot with her. It was a great, long walk on the fire roads through the marshes.

Everybody at PAAS loved Roseanne. I think it's possible she was happier at PAAS than she'd ever been before. Food, a warm place to sleep, and people who enjoyed her company -- who LOVED her. The other animal shelters in Santa Clara County do the same for their animals, I'm sure. I'm only testifying about Palo Alto's small, devoted staff and volunteers. I know jobs and cost are a concern these days. I still think having our own shelter in Palo Alto is good for the city. But I admit, I am biased.

Posted by GPS-Collars-Find-Lost-Pets, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

> In the past 10 years, both my dogs have escaped
> from my yard to explore

GPS pet collars should be required on all pets--

Web Link

The idea that people who own pets would expect taxpayer funds to be used to locate/"rescue" their pets, when they can put GPS-locator collars on the pets and go pick them up themselves is ludicrous. It's this never-end entitlement mentality that is driving Palo Alto, California, the US and most European countries into total BANKRUPTCY!

There is no reason the the City of Palo Alto should be using taxpayer funds to locate lost pets!!!

Posted by GPS-Collars-Find-Lost-Pets, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

> Cutting staffing and reducing the officers really isn't a good idea.
> I know them, and know they are already over worked as it is.

Really? Does the ACS (Animal Control Service) publish a yearly performance report, that provide a fairly clear view of who is doing what, and in which cities? And does this report provide the city-of-residence of all of the users of the service, so Palo Alto taxpayers can get a clear sense of what is going on here?

Certainly the City of Mountain View has had enough. How long before the other Cities say the same thing, and join up with the Santa Clara County service--which seems to be cheaper, and more regional, that the City of Palo Alto's offering?

Posted by Mike, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Since PAAS lost Mountain View and now only has Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto there is not need for all the employees to be on full time anymore. I know that City Rangers are functioning on part-time Rangers and they are doing just fine. The City should do the same to Animal Services. PAAS should realize that things are difficult these days, the economy is bad not only in Palo Alto, but in the Country. We have been hearing this crying for help from PAAS for years now, but I don't see PAAS stepping up and doing something. Where is Shelter manager. Step up and do something. If you look at other shelters in California that were having the same problem, but they did something to save their jobs and shelter from closing down. Modesto Shelter had five Officers before now only two full time officers only and few employees now are working as a part-time only. The City should tell PAAS it's take or leave. NO MORE CRYING.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

During these difficult financial times that leave us facing annual budget deficits, this is one city service in my opinion that should be outsourced. Some of our neighboring municipalities have made the switch to the county service and so should we. Much less costly to contribute into a regional service. That will not only spare us paying the salaries and employee benefits, but we won't have to allocate funds to rebuild the outdated facility. Hopefully the current employees can be brought on to the county animal services.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Hello to Mr/Ms/Mrs GPS-Collars aficianado:

Thanks for the tip. Do you sell these GPS collars? How much? And what equipment would I need to track my dogs on GPS? I don't have a cell phone. [check out Web Link if you care why.]

But I digress. If it's any comfort, my twice-escaped/rescued dogs have not actually endangered world financial stability. For one thing, I had to pay hefty fines for BOTH rescues.

So the Animal Control truck is driving around and spots two small, black dogs on the loose. The dogs come when called, are placed in the truck, and are delivered to the shelter where they are identified (collar tags AND embedded microchips) and locked up awaiting my arrival. Let's see.... Estimate a 5-mile drive at $1 per mile (high but I'm game) and one phone call to me (another $1) and the cost to Palo Alto is $6. Even if you factor in an hour's salary for the Officer involved, the total expense amounts to less than $35. (I have no idea of hourly salary; just picking an arbitrary $29/hour.) The fines I paid covered that amount 2 or 3 times over.

So it seems possible that if more of us let our dogs loose for rescue, the City might have a hot new source of income? [Just KIDDING]

I've paid taxes happily all my life. I do so knowing that the money will be used for the health & welfare of my community. I vote in favor of School Bonds, though I have no children. I consider it reasonable that the "government" of my town, my state, and my country spends my taxes on projects and services I could never hope to provide on my own, such as roads, fire departments, animal shelters. They also spend on things I don't value or appreciate, but that's what elections are for -- to effect change.

Perhaps you don't have pets. And having a pet doesn't make anyone superior in any way. That's not my point. My point is that I like volunteering at PAAS, I respect the staff and other volunteers, I know they contribute to public safety and provide spay & neuter services at low cost. I value PAAS and would "vote" to keep it local. I understand that other people in this discussion see PAAS as a service Palo Alto can sacrifice to save money. Maybe so. But I'd like to know more.

What other communities besides Mountain View have opted to go to the Sunnyvale shelter? How much money will Mountain View pay Sunnyvale when their contract with Palo Alto runs out (in 2014)? Just for starters.

People make blanket statements, and I think some facts might improve our enlightenment. Who do we ask? (Or should I say "whom"?)

Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Question: how can the Sunnyvale animal services center be "cage-free," as the reporter puts it? Surely they don't keep dogs all loose in one room (and cats all loose in another room)? Think of the fighting, infections, etc.!

Please enlighten me.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:56 am

The article at the top may be mistaken about the location of the Humane Society Silicon Valley. It's not "based in Sunnyvale..." On Sunnyvale's web page they mention providing "animal control" services but say, "The City of Sunnyvale contracts with the Humane Society Silicon Valley for its animal sheltering services."

Humane Society Silicon Valley at Web Link is located in Milpitas, with a satellite branch in Sunnyvale.

It actually appears that the dogs live in small rooms with glass windows & doors. Furniture. Pictures on the walls. The HSSV home page offers a virtual tour here Web Link

Not literally "cage free," because the dogs are confined, but it looks to be very nice confinement. A room, not a kennel. Not sure how many dogs share a room. Pretty impressive.

Posted by Suzan Syrett, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

My experience with PAAS was very positive. I met one of the best dogs I ever had when a volunteer was walking him on the bay lands. I later went to the shelter and asked if he was available for adoption. The staff did a good job of making sure our home was a good fit. Obviously, I paid a fee for adoption and microchipping. That would never have happened if the dog had been in Sunnyvale or Milpitas. Besides, I don't know how the Humane Society Silicon Valley could possibly cost less given the amount of appeals for funds I get from them.

Posted by Suzan Syrett, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I got curious about which organization we were talking about. Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is located in Milpitas and has as its mission statement:

HSSV’s mission is to save and enhance lives. As an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit, we do not receive funding from HSUS, ASPCA, or local, state or federal government entities. Your support of HSSV directly helps animals in your community!

Note that they take no government money.

Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) is the organization listed in the article. It is located in Santa Clara and provides animal care and control services for the residents of Campbell, Monte Sereno and Santa Clara. It's facilities look good but are nowhere near as upscale as HSSV's.

It would be less convenient to pick up a lost dog in Santa Clara than in Palo Alto or even at the Peninsula Humane Society.

Posted by Guy, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Let me make a correction: The City of Mountain View has elected to have their Animal Control Services provided by Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority in Santa Clara. Sunnyvale has nothing do to with it.

Web Link

There will be differences, and when the Mountain View citizens actually realize its happening, there will be fallout – but it will be too late. To name a few…

Difference #1) The Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) won't accept animals surrendered by their owners from Mountain View residents. They will be asked to make an appointment to do it at The Humane Society all the way in Milpitas. They will also be asked to pay over $100 to do it. (PAAS does not require a fee to surrender your animal) This means, there will be in increase of animals dumped and abandoned in the City of Mountain View, running loose and possibly injuring themselves, other animals, or the public.

Difference #2) Response time. Palo Alto and Los Altos (Both jurisdictions of PAAS) border Mtn View for miles and miles. And PAAS is 1 mile from the Mtn View border. SVACA's shelter is located almost by San Jose Airport off of 101. That's pretty far.

Difference #3) Fees will be higher for Mountain View citizens. License fees and adoption fees are just a few that will be higher than Palo Alto’s. So the City of Mountain View is "saving a money" by contracting with SVACA, and passing the remainder onto its citizens.

Quoting another Palo Alto Online article dated 11/4/11 reporting when Mtn View decided to end the contract with PAAS....

“…the move to Santa Clara would save $50,000 a year on average after a $300,000 investment in new equipment and facilities is paid off in FIVE years.”

So, Mountain View has to pay $300,000 dollars to upgrade SVACA in order to in 5 years save only $50,000 a year? (until that contract expires) In the scope of city budgets, that not that much money!

Posted by Solon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Close the shelter ASAP, regionalize the service. Silicon Valley is a good operation.

Twice the Palo ALto shelter put down a dog that a resident asked to adopt, once before the mandatory waiting period.

Not good. Close the shelter. Not necessary, all functions are easily available elsewhere.

A BIG waste of money.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:18 am

On their web site HSSV state that the fee for adopting a dog is $175. At PAAS it's $100. I'm not implying that anyone's doing anything wrong, but it is fair to say that our smaller, older, local PAAS animal shelter saves money for pet owners and adopters.

Posted by Shante, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Your angry, accusatory comment adds nothing to the discussion. "Guy" and/or "Guy Incognito," on the other hand, contributes actual information. The fact that someone has taken time to read the news, scan the various web sites, and LEARN more about the situation does not amount to a conspiracy.

As a PAAS volunteer, I don't spend much time with Sandi Stadler (she's too busy). When I do run into her at the shelter, she's always cheerful, smiling, energetic, and optimistic. None of the grapevine chatter I hear has anything negative to say about her. She is well liked and respected.

You suggest that Guy should "Stop crying and complaining." How about taking your own advice? Got anything constructive to contribute?

Posted by Donna, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I read what Shante wrote and I have to say that I agree with Him/Her. There is too much crying from PAAS. It is time to stop the crying and move forward. PAAS needs a stronger leader. I would vote to keep the shelter running, but make some employees part-time only. The City could save some money. Just look at City Rangers, they are function on part-time employees. Why could not PAAS do the same!

Posted by Lily, a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

I used to volunteering at PAAS fews years back before I moved to Southern California. I always love to go there and help with the animals and I wish the best for PAAS. Now I read something regarding Ms.Stadler, she is a very sweet person and does her best for PAAS, but I have to tell you that Ms. Stadler does not run the show at PAAS. Sad yes, I know because she is a wonderful person! While volunteering there I got to met the Animal Control Officers very well and they used to tell me that they all loved Ms.
Stadler but they were also very disapointed and having a trouble dealing with the other manager Ms.Connie. Who was/is the supervisor at PAAS. They told in many occasion that PAAS was being dragged down by Ms.Connie. Also that Ms.Connie always forgot things that she was told by the officers and told the officers. After she would come to the officers and tell them that she did hear anything or say anything and in many occasion Ms.Stadler knew that Ms.Connie was forgeting things and that the Officers were right but never stood up against Ms.Connie to defende the officers. I did not get to meet Ms.Connie but that is what heard about her and I heard from not one but three Officers.

Posted by Meggie, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

That's suck. Having a Boss like that. I called PAAS one time and I spoke with this "Connie" and she was rude to me. She could not remember what I asked her. I asked something and She said let me check the computer and 30 seconds later she goes "what was your question again". But it only took 30 seconds for to check the computer. Now I see why the Officers were/are having trouble with this lady... Good lucky to them...

Posted by Jane doe, a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I am a volunteer at PAAS and I know Connie. She is not that rude, she is just a hard lady to deal with, that's all. I have noticed that Connie does not like admit that sometimes she is wrong! Also I think that Sandra Stadler knows it and rather keep it to herself instead of going head to head with Connie. People are different and Connie is one of those people. Yes, I feel bad for the Animal Control Officers who having a bad time dealing with Connie, "like someone already posted" but what can you do in situation like that. Another thing the City does not care about who is nice who is not, The City only wants is to save money.

Posted by jack, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I got that Jane Doe, but if things are like that among employees, the shelter will not move forward. It is hard but I have also heard the same comments regarding Connie. I hope that Stadler sees what is going on and have the strong will to do something about it. Because it is not good for anybody. Especially for people like me who supports the shelter. My parents and I have donated money to PAAS in the past, but now I feel disappoint towards Connie and Stadler.

Posted by V, a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hahahhahaaahh:) I worked for the County long ,long ago and Connie was my co-worker and when i read this I laughed my guts out. Yep. that's Connie my old stubborn co-worker. Connie was nice, but when came to remembering things and assuming that sometimes She was wrong:) That was a NO, NO my friends... She made a lots of co-workers go nuts:) I got nothing to say about the shelter, cause I live in San Mateo but i hope the best for the shelter.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

One day at the shelter I went into the "break room" (where people eat lunch, sign in, hang up their coats, etc.). A pleasant voice said a cheerful, "Hello." I looked around, saw another volunteer, and responded with a smile, "Hello." She glanced my way and said, "Hello." And then we both heard another cheery, "Hello!" coming from under a large boxy shape with a sheet draped over it. I lifted the sheet and there was a chatty, friendly green parrot. We were amazed at the human tone of its voice, and we laughed at ourselves and the bird.

Turned out the parrot had escaped from its home, and its frantic owners, after calling local rescue groups, were hustling to get to PAAS and bail out their errant bird. I was happy for the owners but kinda sorry to see the bird leave. I would have enjoyed getting to know him better.

Our Animal Control Officers regularly bring in stray parrots, cockatiels, and budgies they find loose in the world. PAAS either reunites the birds with their original families or finds new homes.

Another story of what our LOCAL animal services do for us in Palo Alto. From a PAAS volunteer.

Posted by danny, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Scottie, I am sure that PAAS have great volunteers like" yourself" and Animal Control Officers. The problem is the City Budge. Now we are seeing people complaining about the managers. Why do not you get it! Try to understand that to fix a problem sometimes we need to look more deeply and perhaps look into this complaints regarding the this lady Connie and the other Manager. I also have donated money to PAAS and I love animals but after reading what people posted regarding the managers " Connie especially " I feel that something has to be done about it. Now, you wrote that the Animal Control Officers are great and do a great job right! Do not you feel bad after reading what a FORMER VOLUNTEER wrote, regarding of what the Animal Control Officers told HER regarding Connie. Do you think it is fair?

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2012 at 1:23 am

Good questions, Danny. My answers:

First, I seem to be the only person in this discussion who's using my real name. People who use "screen" names are entitled to do so, but they have to understand when I don't trust the integrity of their comments.

Second, the financial problems of the City of Palo Alto cannot be blamed on PAAS. And accusing PAAS employees of being selfish, greedy, and downright incompetent is not reasonable in my opinion. So when I read others' indignant comments, I may wince at the spelling and grammar, but the text doesn't enlighten me.

Third, if the city council decides they must close PAAS and send Palo Alto residents to Milpitas (or Sunnyvale) for low-cost spay & neuter, low-cost vaccines, and not-as-low-cost adoptions, I feel sure that Palo Alto will continue spending money from their budget (the word has a "t" at the end, FYI). I don't know how much PAAS costs now, and I don't know how much Palo Alto would have to pay HSSV to provide less convenient services for Palo Alto residents and their pets.

Fourth, why on earth would I take seriously anonymous comments, many from other locations (including Los Angeles?), based on gossip and/or obviously biased opinions or old resentments. It reminds me of 5th grade or something.

I find the discussion mildly entertaining. I'm hoping people with cooler heads are not being fooled by the Tea Party rage. I for one have not been persuaded by the simplistic arguments presented here.

Posted by Tony, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

Close this shelter now. There is not need to keep it running. The Police should and could get the CSO Officers some training in how to handle animals and how to do the licensees. It would not be difficult since PAAS can only enforce licensees in Palo Alto. It would be Just like Sunnyvale Police. Just leave the vaccinations , neuter and spay to owners to take their animals wherever they want.

Posted by Ronie, a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm

We need the shelter:) I am from Los Altos and PAAS is the only shelter we have in the area. It is old but who cares animals don't care. Also the building is not that terrible like some people are posting. I have two dogs and I am happy with PAAS. Now regarding customer services I have to agree that PAAS could improve a little more. I have had a problem with Connie before. It was on vaccination day and I was outside waiting and a nice gentleman told me that I could go inside. Connie " in a very rude tone of voice, told me "Mamma wait outside some will call you" I told her that the gentleman outside told me to come in. She replied it is not your turn yet, wait outside" People were talking to each other asking what was her problem! The other employees were very nice and helpful but not Connie. I know her name because I made a complaint to the young gentleman outside. I believed his name was Codie or Cody and his apologized to me. I support the shelter and the City has to keep it running maybe make some changes but keep it running.

Posted by Tannie, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

What jerky this Lady. I have not met Connie but I heard that she is not good with people. I have talked with the animal control officers many times and they were always very nice to me. I also spoke with someone at the shelter i believed her name was Sandi a short Blondie and she was very helpful and friendly. It is too bad that because of one bad seed the whole shelter gets a bad review. But the only way to make things better, it is by speaking up and that's how works in this Country.

Posted by Forest, a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

This lady is racist and ignorant! I stopped by the place one time and when I entered the shelter, someone said Hi, How can I help you. "not bad". I asked some questions about dogs and dog's foods. I am originally from Norway and I have a strong thick accent! The lady started moving her eye- balls around and eye-browns up and down and making some smirk facial expressions. She did not answered questions truly, because she did not even try to come around the counter or get up from her desk to talk to me Now, "where was the good customer services". It took another person in the shelter to help me out and He understood my accent. Before I left the shelter I looked at the lady again and asked her name she said Connie and I said thanks for your help Connie! She replied your are welcome with a smirk face. At the same day I went to Milpitas shelter and was well greeted inside by everyone and that is what I call a great customer service.

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