The city of Orange Cove recently canceled its contract with a third party that ran its animal shelter, opting to have city employees take over the duties. Since the change, the costs have increased, more animals are being euthanized, and the Police Department is getting less done because an officer has been dedicated to running the shelter.
The shelter had been operated by Friends of Orange Cove Animal Shelter (FOCAS). Now, Police Officer Rogelio Diaz is the only person running the facility.
“Now serving as the City's Animal Control Officer, Diaz handles catching stray dogs throughout the city,” Fox26 News reported. “He also cleans up the shelter at night. … Orange Cove Public Works is now in charge of cleaning up in the morning and on the weekends.”
The city took over the shelter in December of 2019. In January, the city caught 22 dogs – nine were euthanized, two died on their own and 11 were retrieved by their owners.
When the shelter was operated by FOCAS, it reported a 99 percent save rate, and was deemed a “no-kill” shelter.
“Last time FOX26visited the shelter, it was infested with flies, and mosquitoes and other bugs that FOCAS had been trying to deal with,” the news station reported. “Now, the walls have been repaired, the wiring fixed, and the bug problem taken care of. But all that money comes out of the Police Department budget – no extra money is allotted to the police for animal control.”
While FOCAS operated on $30,000 a year from the city plus donations, the police chief said his department probably will spend $70,000 in tax dollars.
“So would it be better if they would’ve kept it? Probably so," the chief said. “It’s not cheaper. It’s not cheaper, and I don’t think it’s necessarily better.”
Meanwhile, the Police Department that once had 14 officers now has 10, including the chief, two school resource officers and the animal control officer.
Despite its questionable spending decision with the shelter, the city is asking voters to approve a non-uniform parcel tax measure on the March ballot. (Source: Fox26 News, February 19.)