By Tracey Louper
Yolo County Animal Services (YCAS) and Yolo County SPCA (SPCA) have partnered at the county’s animal shelter for 30 years.
As of the 1st of July that partnership will come to an end in detriment to animals and county residents. This partnership is responsible for most of the progress that has been made over the years to provide better care to the animals who find themselves at the shelter. I have been associated with YCAS on and off over those 30 years and have seen the progress made as a result of working with the SPCA.
It started with the replacement of the gas chamber with humane euthanasia by injection. Today the euthanasia rate is so low as to qualify Yolo County Animal Shelter as a no kill facility.
In 1988, SPCA employees instituted a primitive behavior evaluation, adoption interviews, and maintained paper lost and found reports.
Today the behavior evaluation is much improved, lost and found records are computerized, and SPCA employees train and coordinate volunteers who provide enrichment for the impounded animals, perform science based training and behavior modification to make animals more adoptable, and interact with potential adopters to help make good lasting matches between humans and animals.
If you have been to the shelter to look for a new family member you have likely interacted with a volunteer trained by the SPCA.
Additionally, SPCA employees have developed a network of rescues and other shelters to which animals from Yolo County can be transferred to improve their chance of adoption and coordinate transportation for those animals.
They have created foster home and off site adoption programs, increasing adoptions of the shelter’s animals. There is also a strong social network presence promoting adoptable shelter animals and facilitating reunification of lost animals with their owners.
As of July 1, 2018, YCAS staff is to take over the above duties and others that have heretofore been provided by SPCA employees. So taxpayers will now be paying for what they used to get for free. That is, if the over-worked YCAS staff has the time or knowledge to do so.
I do not cast aspersions on YCAS staff, theirs is a physically and emotionally exhausting job, but I know the shelter is chronically underfunded and its staff overworked. Something will have to give and it is likely be to the detriment of the animals.
I do not know what caused the breach between YCAS and SPCA. It seems to me that 30 years of partnering should allow for the working out of any difficulty. I do know that the shelter’s dank, outdated physical plant has been made tolerable by virtue of SPCA involvement and I fear that ray of light and hope is endangered by this loss.
Tracey Louper is a former employee of Yolo County SPCA, former Volunteer with Yolo County Animal Services, and former employee of Yolo County Animal Services