Sacramento County Department of Animal Care and Regulation
On May 10, 1999, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the Sacramento County Department of Animal Care and Regulation (the shelter), located at 4290 Bradshaw Rd., Sacramento.
The shelter has been operating in the same facilities for approximately 25 years. Shelter staff arrange for abandoned animals to be adopted, reunite animals with their owners, vaccinate dogs and cats (at a reduced price), and euthanatize old, infirm, or unadoptable animals.
There are outside cages at the facilities to be used by residents for dropping off unwanted animals after regular business hours. The Grand Jury learned that, after arrival, dogs and cats are given a health examination and a temperament evaluation. A stray animal picked up by shelter staff is kept for 72 hours before being euthanatized. If the animal wears an identification tag or has an implanted microchip, the shelter will try for one week to locate the owner. The shelter works closely with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Many area residents call the SPCA to pick up stray animals; however, this is not in SPCA's charter.
The Grand Jury was told that, due to public education programs about the neutering of animals, there has been a decrease in litters being abandoned at the shelter. When an animal is adopted from the shelter, an appointment is made with a participating veterinarian to have the pet neutered.
According to information given to the Grand Jury, the shelter's staff of 52 was cut by ten in 1991, and since then another ten employees have been lost because of budget cuts. This is a health and safety issue for both staff and animals because the lack of sufficient staff can cause errors and accidents. As the County's population has increased, so has the pet population. Shelter staff attempts to handle this added workload with help from volunteer groups (teenagers and retirees) and also members of Teach Everyone Animals Matter (TEAM). TEAM is a nonprofit organization that holds fundraising events throughout the year to generate support for the shelter. It also assists the staff with community education, adoption counseling, exercising animals, grooming and obedience training.
On the first Wednesday of each month, the shelter conducts a clinic at which the staff will inject identifying microchips in pets. The fee for this service was $17.50 at the time of the Grand Jury's visit.
The Grand Jury was told that shelter employees receive on-the-job training by cleaning cages and by observing animal behavior. Later, they are paired with experienced field workers to learn how to handle complaints about stray animals, how to pick up stray animals, and how to remove carcasses.
Findings and Recommendations
Finding #1: At the time of its visit the Grand Jury found that the facility was overcrowded, understaffed and in poor repair. The shelter staff was preparing documentation to present to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors requesting funds for additional staff and an improved, larger facility.
The Grand Jury has subsequently learned that funding was approved to hire five more animal control officers and for needed capital improvements.
Recommendation #1: The Grand Jury recommends that the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approve the additional funds necessary to meet the shelter's long-term needs.
No Response is Required.