Supervisors approve plan to partner with Truckee

Published on July 22, 2015

The quality of care for shelter animals in eastern Placer County will likely get a big boost in a few weeks if the county begins using Truckee’s shelter for animal control services. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday OK’d moving forward on a contract with the Town of Truckee that will centralize all county animal shelter services east of the Sierra Crest to the town’s modern facility in Truckee. With the supervisor’s approval today, the 30-year agreement will move to the Truckee town council for its approval. With the town's OK, the contract would begin Sept. 1.

The county’s eastern Tahoe Vista shelter is a 43-year old facility that has reached the end of its useful life. The facility is not compliant with modern Humane Society standards for animal care and sheltering and provides inadequate space for normal shelter functions. The Tahoe Vista shelter has numerous deficiencies. They include inadequate direct sunlight inside the shelter; an absence of outdoor dog runs; porous walls and floors that can promote the transmission of disease and are difficult to deodorize; and minimal space for staff offices, the public and storage.

The Town of Truckee owns and operates a new, well-equipped and modern animal shelter meeting current standards. This shelter has the capacity to handle sheltering services for all of eastern Placer County for at least the next 30 years. By using the town’s shelter, Placer County will be able to meet its required mandates.

“What is the best thing we can do for the animals?" asked Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose 5th District includes eastern Placer County. "All of us share the same passion to make sure the animals get the best care that they can get. I think the opportunity to partner with Truckee is an opportunity we can't pass up. Even with all the passion and care we lavish on them, the [Tahoe Vista] facilities are still inadequate."

Friends of the Tahoe Vista Shelter, a group of Tahoe residents, had previously asked that the board to delay any decision on moving operations while it drafted an alternative plan. That plan called for building a new shelter facility in the Tahoe basin. Staff recommended against this proposal, due in part to the cost of a new shelter.

“It’s doubtful the money is available,” said Supervisor Jack Duran. “We're entering an era of government where we're getting less money. We need to maximize the dollars we have.”

Under the 30-year agreement between the town and the county, Placer County will pay the town an initial fee of $750,000. However, the county would save $100,000 a year in operating costs by partnering with Truckee, saving $2 million over the 30 years of the agreement. The county would save money by not having to build a new shelter; reduced maintenance costs of the old shelter; and by being able to use the Truckee shelter’s in-house surgery facility, eliminating the need for contracts for spay and neutering services and in-house kennel attendant services.

The amenities at the Truckee shelter will improve overall animal health and wellbeing. In addition to onsite veterinary medicine services, having clean, well-lighted kennels reduces animal stress. Providing areas where animals can be evaluated for temperament and interact with potential adopters will improve adoption rates. A community room in the Truckee facility will allow for increased educational and outreach opportunities.