San Diego Humane Society

Future of San Diego Animal Services Uncertain

Some audience members at the council committee meeting were crying Thursday when shelter animals were being discussed

Emotions ran high Thursday as a packed room debated the future of the City of San Diego Animal Services purchasing and contracting agreements. 

The fate of animal services is currently up in the air. This coming after the Board of Supervisors voted in 2017 to stop providing animal services to six cities, including San Diego. The decision would affect about 18,000 shelter animals each year in the city of San Diego. 

"The county is disappointing us all by deciding after 45 years to get out of the business and putting us in this difficult position," said Councilmember Chris Ward at the meeting. 

Dozens flooded into the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee meeting, which consists of some city council members, at the city administration building downtown. 

Some audience members started to cry as conditions of the animals in county custody were described by a speaker. 

"My colleagues and I have dedicated ourselves to sharing animal welfare for years," said Lisa Murphy who argued in favor of awarding the animal services contract to the San Diego Humane Society and has worked there for eight years. "We are a reliable resource for pet owners seeking education." 

Lauren Michaels expressed concern for the "unadoptable animals" that she believes won't get the care or attention they need from the San Diego Humane Society. 

"Under the San Diego Humane Society all animals will receive the highest level of care and have the best chance to find their forever homes," rebutted Dana Boyd at the meeting, a professional dog obedience trainer. 

One speaker was worried that the San Diego Humane Society would not be trained enough to handle wildlife such as mountain lions and farm animals such as horses. 

"If we don't move forward with this, then the responsibility will fall on our police officers, which we cannot have happen," said Councilmember Chris Cate. "The San Diego Humane Society has been around for a long time and I have no doubt they are up for the responsibility." 

A motion passed 3-1 to forward the contract with no recommendation to the full council for consideration on April 30. Councilmember Cate did not vote. 

The animal services contract is set to expire on June 30. 

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