With new contract, Sacramento animal shelter will pray and neuter

Sacramento County’s charge to shelter lost and abandoned animals just got bigger.

Supervisors decided last week to approve a contract to provide animal-shelter services to Elk Grove, beginning next year, even as they expressed concern about available space and the rate of euthanasia at the existing shelter.

“They’re living, breathing creatures,” said Supervisor Don Nottoli.

By taking this contract on, Nottoli said he didn’t want the county to get painted into a corner and become “the kill shelter for Sacramento County.”

The shelter euthanized 6,000 pets last year, according to shelter director Dave Dickinson. Most took place because of behavioral issues, he said. Some occurred because of health issues, but not as many as past years, when kennel cough and upper-respiratory infections were bigger problems. Less than 10 percent of the kills happened because of space issues.

The county anticipates its contract with Elk Grove to bring in between 1,850 to 2,300 additional animals, resulting in a potential revenue increase of approximately $470,000 per year.

Dickinson assured officials his shelter has the resources to handle an additional six animals a day. “We’ve got the ability with some of these resources to redouble our efforts,” he said.

The additional money, through a redirected contract with the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, would fund additional medical and support staff, attendants, and a mobile spay-and-neuter vehicle.

The shelter has witnessed a 21 percent decrease in intake since 2009, during the height of the recession. Dickinson attributed the reduced figures to the shelter’s spay-and-neuter program. The shelter took in 11,000 animals this past fiscal year.

The county announced the new contract in a press release before supervisors actually recorded their vote.

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