Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Rochelle VanderHelm
For the Wasco Tribune 

Animal shelter in need of help, staff says


Rochelle VanderHelm | For the Wasco Tribune

Biridiana Bishop and Marco Silva of the Public Works Department present report on the state of Animal Control Services.

Insufficient staff, limited resources and outdated facilities continue to discourage the animal shelter's ability to function well, the City Council was told Tuesday night.

Public Works Director Biridiana Bishop and Marco Silva presented concerns to the council regarding deteriorating animal control services.

Silva explained how the current kenneling facilities endanger the animals and people who come to visit. "We do the best with what we go t... but a lot of times the dogs chew right through the fence," he said.

He described how many of the walkways do not meet the Americans With Disabilities Act regulations. The main space where visitors roam to meet the dogs often collects several inches of drain-off consisting of water, urine and feces from the kennels. "We got kids [come in] and we always have to tell them 'Hey, don't step here, it isn't safe,' " he said.

Only 175 dogs were adopted last year, of the 2,275 dogs processed.

Wasco's shelter charges considerably greater licensing and adoption fees than other towns, such as Delano and Shafter. Locals adopt out-of-town rather than pay the heavy fees, Bishop said.

The council expressed interest in looking into methods of increasing Animal Control Services' effectiveness, and requested that the representatives of the shelter return in the future with a complete strategy to make the required improvements.

Senior Deputy Peter Martinez of the Kern County Sheriff's Department briefed the council on the most recent major cases. "We had two major investigations this month, and those are going through the court system right now," he said.

Last Saturday, a man burglarized Peter's Funeral home twice. The owners of the establishment caught and detained the suspect until officers arrived.

"About $4,000 worth of property was returned to the family," said Martinez. The break-in was not connected to the recent string of break-ins around town, he said.

Additionally last week, two men mugged a 75-year-old gentleman during his morning walk.

With the help of local business' surveillance cameras, police brought the first suspect into custody within 48 hours and apprehended the other suspect some time later. Martinez noted that local business owners don't know how much their surveillance systems help in these investigations.

"Ultimately, we had both suspects confess to everything," Martinez said.

Rochelle VanderHelm | For the Wasco Tribune

Senior Deputy Peter Martinez.

The council approved payments of $16,081 for financial consultation.

Councilmember Gilbert Reyna asked the council to recognize community service work done by employees of The Wonderful Company. Employees made improvements to the bathroom facility in Westside Park, repainting and installing a new urinal and dividing wall in the public restrooms. Employees replaced old trash cans at another location in town.

"You never hear a trash can described as beautiful, but these trash cans are beautiful," Reyna said.

The Wonderful Company pays the employees their normal wage during their community service work.

Danny Espitia announced there is a town hall meeting in Delano this Saturday with Rep. T.J. Cox.


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