The animal shelter that serves Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto may get a stay of execution.
Palo Alto City Council's Finance Committee voted Tuesday night (May 15) to find ways to keep the animal services department running next year, scrimping to fill a $500,000 predicted shortfall.
Their vote follows a first vote of support for the shelter last week, when the city's policy and services committee unanimously recommended exploring ways to preserve the city’s animal services program. The issue will come before full council in June.
Mountain View pulled out of the shelter partnership this year, and the loss of its funding prompted talk of closure. Palo Alto City Manager James Keene proposed shuttering the local facility and outsourcing services to save money. Community groups including the Palo Alto Humane Society responded with dismay, proposing alternative funding sources that could preserve the shelter. Reducing staff, gathering donations and operating a spay and neuter clinic with expanded hours were among the ideas floated.
Los Altos residents weighed in at the meetings, voicing their concerns that outsourcing would cause long travel times, new expenses, delayed officer response and loss of spay and neuter and vaccination services for the community. The net result, many feared, would be more animals on the street.
It is far more effective to make it easy for people to do the right thing (spay/neuter and vaccinate their animals or surrender them) than to prevent them from doing the wrong thing (not fixing, not vaccinating or abandoning their animals). Adding inconvenience discourages people from doing the right thing,” Los Altos resident Ivor Durham wrote to the Palo Alto City Council. He’s a member of Los Altos’ Fat Cat Rescue.