Serving the community since 1970

Animal shelter charging small fee to surrender pets

The Wasco Animal Shelter is currently limiting the amount of surrendered pets it can accept — and for a fee.

The shelter is charging a $20 surrender fee while still accepting strays.

“Overcrowding can be an issue,” said Animal Control Officer Marcos Silva. “With only 17 kennels, if we get more large breeds than small breeds, we immediately lose space. We aim to ensure a safe comfortable stay for our animals while they are here.”

The dogs do not tend to stay long in the shelter, Silva said.

“After partnering with, our impounded animals are gone within one to two days,” Silva said. If not adopted, “We do have a time limit, and our animals are placed at verified rescue homes, where they can thrive.”

At the first City Council meeting of the year on Jan. 6, the council addressed public safety.

“It’s unfortunate,” said City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez. “But it’s important our residents know that the California criminal justice system is at fault.”

The council prepared a presentation to help educate on the recent fundamental changes in the state judicial system.

In October 2011, the California Public Safety Realignment Act went into effect meaning, in order to avoid overcrowding in prisons and reduce the state corrections budget, an estimated 45,000 felons were transferred to county and local jails.

In 2016, Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act allowed the state to provide for the early release of up to 30,000 criminals convicted of non-violent felonies. To further educate on the matter, here are some crimes considered nonviolent: Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury, domestic violence, battery with serious bodily injury, inflicting corporal injury on a child, and rape/sodomy/oral copulation of unconscious person or by use of date rape drugs. On Dec. 28, 2020 the California Supreme Court ruled that “certain sex offenders are eligible for early parole.”

These changes are egregious, Ortiz-Hernandez said.

“We are in an unfortunate position,” he said. “The criminal justice system has failed us, and now we are to deal with the ramifications as best we can.”

As a parent and family man Ortiz-Hernandez feels the urgency and is grateful for the ongoing discussions amongst his peers.

“We recently participated in a roundtable discussion (an informal meeting) with other administrators in the community on how we can partner up and implement a strategy,” he said.


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