A Letter to Yolo County’s Animal Loving Population

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

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Alan Miller

    > I do not know what caused the breach between YCAS and SPCA.

    Well, someone must know.  Taking this at face value, how can a small team of bureaucrats replace the same team of bureaucrats plus volunteers?  No good can come of that.

  2. Howard P

    A different tack… the picture looks so much like our current family member… spookily so… she was “pet of the week” (via Emptyprize) when we found her @ the County shelter. (day after we saw her picture, read the narrative).. had been “fostered” for a time (SPCA volunteer) and they had to come in for the “meet and greet”… adopted her a couple hours after… a damn good dog… she hasn’t met a person or another dog that she hasn’t wanted to be best friends with… squirrels are another matter, and methinks the dog sees cats as “big squirrels”…

    We did the ‘doggie DNA’ thing… a mixture of four breeds… (AC said two, but they also described her as a “silly girl”, and they nailed that! She’s taking her late afternoon nap, nearby

    Would adopt the dog in the picture, except that our “child”, as ‘alpha female’ might have some grief with that… friends are one thing, house-mates another…

    Long way of saying, hope that YCAS and SPCA volunteers reconcile… have seen/experienced the results that they have achieved together (great!)… and yeah, I’m a dog person (always have been)… ‘inherent bias’, I suppose… and dogs seem to know that… only experienced one, who had been mistreated, who didn’t… in a period of 60+ years…

  3. Bonnie Redmond

    Volunteers everywhere are the backbone of America. America was founded on greed, so volunteers are the real value of this great country of ours. Anytime that system is broken for any team, it’s a giant loss, and should not be handled as a superficial wound. If it breaks to the point of loosing valuable volunteers, consider a resolution & most certainly why it’s not addressed at the point of coordination.

    Integrity, dedication to the cause, and commitment is what [unnamed volunteer, as I don’t have permission]  and those who have served along side her. I have followed her social media for a few years, So when she and her family leaves that at the door, I can assure you something is wrong. Coordination has failed.

    Please don’t slam the door on this opportunity, or the support of your community. I hope it’s not too late to come together and review the issues.

    1. Howard P

      Bonnie, if it were not for your first phase, in your second sentence (which I reject as untrue, as worded), I agree 100%.

      From what we’ve learned thus far, the whole situation is tragic, like two family members getting estranged when they have a common goal…

      I hope they reconcile quickly to get back to “business”, and saving the animals, and potentially “saving” those folk who bring them into their human family…

      “A Dog’s Purpose”, is a powerful movie… our current four-legged family member came from a situation/time when everyone was working well together… we all, in our family, are the better for that cooperation (five two-legged, one four)…

  4. Bonnie Redmond

    I agree but my understanding is greed has everything to do with this situation, thus my subtle attempt to point it out.

    Yes let’s get back to the dogs. I appreciate your comment.


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