CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (April 6, 2022) — In Defense of Animals, the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC), and over 300 Contra Costa residents are urging Contra Costa County officials to enact a comprehensive, fair and humane Animal Services Agreement.
The calls were prompted by the release of a new City-County Services Agreement by Contra Costa County Animal Services that would increase its funding but decrease the scope and quality of the services it provides for companion animals, community cats, and wildlife.
On November 30, 2021, a civil grand jury report highlighted the county’s homeless animal problem and limited ability to help wildlife due to funding restrictions, and made several recommendations for improvements. At a meeting on February 22, 2022, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors responded to the report, stating, “The county anticipates that under the new city agreements, there will be a greater level of service throughout the county.”
However, the new agreement will increase City fees and reduce services.
Animal Services has proposed the new service agreement to the cities of Brentwood, Clayton Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon and Walnut Creek.
If it’s signed, the agreement will affect animal guardians and citizens who care about animal companions, community cats, and wildlife, by failing to outline a plan to provide the basic standard animal services.
All live wildlife calls — either transporting injured wildlife to Lindsay Wildlife Hospital or humanely euthanizing them if necessary — have been eliminated from this agreement. Citizens are already putting themselves at risk trying to help injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals and sharing their frustrations publicly on social media platforms because their needs are not being met by Contra Costa Animal Services.
Not only does the new Animal Service agreement ignore wild animals, it also fails dogs and cats. The serious overpopulation of dogs and homeless community cats is not addressed, one spay/neuter and vaccination clinic is inadequate, and a trap/neuter/return program for community cats is not included.
There are no policies to ensure impounded adoptable animals are not killed and returned to their guardians, transferred to rescues, or adopted into safe and loving homes.
“The new Contra Costa Animal Services’ agreement is alarmingly vague – it states CCAS will provide basic services yet fails to include any details that would make it accountable to citizens,” said Cassidy Schulman, Community Cats campaigner for In Defense of Animals. “Contra Costa County citizens are being asked to pay more and get less — it’s just not fair on animals or taxpayers. We urge the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to negotiate a comprehensive, fair, and humane Animal Services Agreement. The human and non-human animal residents of Contra Costa County deserve nothing less.”
There has been a lot of frustration on the part of nonprofits and individual animal rescuers who are seeing a trend toward dog and cat abandonment. The nonprofits and volunteers, working with a fraction of the County Animal Service budget, are overwhelmed. They are concerned they will not be able to continue to fill the Animal Services void, especially with the reduction of services.