For the past couple of years, the city of Bakersfield and the Kern County Animal Control folks have been dancing back and forth in an uncomfortable tango to determine the fate of the shelter on South Mt. Vernon Street, and ultimately the fate of the many many pets in their custody. This latest step in the dance has left the County with only a month to transition the animals to some other place.
The shelter, which is owned by the City and “leased” to the county, currently houses around 700 animals… the number is not static because many of the animals come in pregnant and give birth at the shelter plus there are ongoing owner relinquishments and pick-ups/drop-offs of strays. The City offered an extension to December but there was no monetary portion to the offer, and currently while the property (old and out-dated as it is) belongs to the City, the City had also paid the County to provide the services of care, pick-up and maintenance.
The politics of this will undoubtedly take years to unravel. The bottomline is that dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, need to be housed somewhere, and this problem affects everyone who lives here – whether you are a pet owner or not.
The vast number of strays and unwanted pets are due to the irresponsible owners here in our community. The owners who get a pet and then dump it because it is no longer cute, or needs medical care, or doesn’t fit their lifestyle anymore. The owners who allow their unfixed pets to wander and then once pregnant don’t want to care for the offspring. The owners who breed and sell from their “backyard”, dumping the unsold or unwanted. The folks who abuse or neglect their pets. These people are your neighbors.
It is unfortunate that the new director of Kern County Animal Control (Jen Woodard) has not had enough time to turn the shelter around – she will still be working toward education of the public, and providing affordable spay/neuter options – but for the animals in care right now – things are tough.
What can you do?
- Donate! Temporary housing will cost money that is probably not in the budget, knowing how tight the county’s budget is for every service – even the smallest monetary donation will help.
- Donate! If you cannot afford to give money, they will need crates and kennels. Blankets, towels, even sheets and pillowcases – and always – newspapers. Hold a neighborhood drive. Let your kid’s scout troop know there is an opportunity for community service here.
- Donate! If you have nothing else to donate, there is always a need for volunteers.
- Foster an animal or a new family (mom dog and puppies or mom cat and kittens).
- Work with rescues to help find homes for these animals
- ADOPT – the county has dropped their adoption fees to make adopting a very easy thing to do!! DOgs are just $15 and cats $5.
Here is a copy of the press release from Jen Woodard:
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Kern Updates – Please Read
Hello Fellow Animal Advocates and Rescue Partners,
As you may have heard Kern County Animal Control’s Bakersfield Shelter has received an eviction notice a little over a week ago from the City of Bakersfield which requires us to vacate the premises at 201 S Mt. Vernon Avenue by September 30th. We are currently in the process of looking for a new suitable short-term/long-term option where we can safely care for and adopt and rescue our animals. We do not have a location confirmed at this time so we are reaching out to our community for assistance as well as the rescue community to help us save lives and make this transition as easy as possible on the animals.
Due to the fact that we are required to take ALL of the animals in our care when we leave on September 30th, we are faced with the overwhelming task of having to relocate anywhere from 600-700 animals. In preparation for the move and in a continued effort to save more lives, we are hoping to partner with many, many rescues to help save as many lives as possible and reduce the number of animals that we are being forced to relocate.
Below are some protocols that we have put in place to help make your job of saving lives a little bit easier.
1) Starting Sunday, September 1st and running through Monday, September 30th, Kern County Animal Control will be waiving all microchipping and rabies vaccination fees for rescue animals.
2) Our medical staff will be evaluating each animal that is on any form of medication at the time of rescue and, when possible, we will dispense the mediation to the rescue.
3) We are reducing our adoption fees at the shelter (dogs are just $15 and cats are just $5 to adopt) in order to help with adoptable animal placement as well.
4) We are temporarily extending the rescue hours to the following:
Monday 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday 8AM – 5PM
Wednesday 11AM – 7PM
Thursday 8AM – 5PM
Friday 8AM – 5PM
Saturday 8AM – 5PM
Sunday 8AM – 5PM
We encourage you to share this information with any Rescue Partners, animal advocates, networkers or other rescuers to help promote our animals and to save as many lives as possible.
Please note that we will be closed on Monday, September 2nd for the Labor Day Holiday.
Thank you for your continued support and for helping Kern County Animal Control continue to save more lives.
KCAC Rescue Team
Jen Woodard – Director Of Kern County Animal Control
Comments? Questions? Story information, product to review or breaking news? Please contact Natalia Corres at Natalia@bakwep.com.
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