An online petition requesting an audit of the Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) Department was delivered this week to the Board of Supervisors. CCAS maintains animal shelters in Martinez and Pinole.
The petition cites problems of inadequate veterinary care, unsanitary conditions, insufficient staffing, substandard behavior assessments, and cramped conditions that negatively impact the well-being of the housed pets.
Currently the shelters are experiencing outbreaks of highly contagious and often fatal diseases – canine parvovirus and feline panleukopenia. Dogs have been exposed to distemper with wards shut down to the public.
The several thousand petition signors maintain that CCAS and the County have been notified of the severe, chronic problems but have not provided or implemented a meaningful response.
An audit will identify the urgent problems, recommend immediate corrections and provide a roadmap to guarantee that the dogs and cats housed at the shelters receive adequate care.
The petition reads as follows:
“As reported on by the ABC7 Bay Area News Team on June 1, 2017 at http://abc7news.com/pets/i-team-exclusive-critics-say-contra-costa-co-animal-shelter-overwhelmed/2061936/, Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) is drastically failing in its stated mission to provide humane care for the dogs and other animals at its Martinez and Pinole shelters. CCAS is a taxpayer funded local public agency and its failure is both obvious and inexcusable.
- Healthy dogs are becoming sick and even dying unnecessarily due to chronically understaffed, insufficiently monitored and inadequate veterinary care.
- Stressed, scared, shy, anxious and/or untrained dogs are being deemed unadoptable due to invalid and outdated behavior evaluation methods.
- Dogs are suffering in cramped conditions and are not being provided with adequate walks, exercise, interaction or other stimulation all of which lessens their chances for adoption.
- Far too many dogs are being euthanized purely due to overcrowding and kennel stress, with inadequate steps being taken to improve or relieve these conditions.
The dog pictured at the top of this petition, Thompson #A872494, is a single example of an animal who arrived at the CCAS shelter in good health in January 2017 then was dying of untreated pneumonia only days later.
Community members, volunteers and other concerned citizens have repeatedly contacted CCAS staff, the county administrator and members of the Board of Supervisors about the severe, chronic problems and shortcomings including failure to properly evaluate animals; failure to provide animals with needed veterinary care and basic humane housing conditions; failure to institute and follow reasonable and appropriate procedures for the care and housing of animals; failure to comply with applicable State of California laws requiring the release of animals to appropriate rescue groups; and euthanizing dogs unnecessarily and arbitrarily.
As signors of this petition, we share these grave concerns about this ongoing, intractable failure to provide an acceptable level of humane treatment to the homeless animals of our county which CCAS is mandated to shelter.
We therefore request that a thorough assessment by a qualified independent third party be conducted forthwith to ensure that all animals in CCAS custody are cared for in a proper and humane manner. This assessment must include a complete audit of CCAS policies, procedures and current practices leading to specific recommendations for change, with mechanisms to ensure that the recommendations will be prioritized, implemented in a time manner and maintained in full effect going forward.
The residents of Contra Costa County need, want, deserve and demand a shelter that takes full advantage of modern methods for animal care and sheltering including appropriate efforts to save the lives of our companion animals. We the signors of this petition insist that our public officials act seriously and expeditiously to bring Contra Costa Animal Services to a place where it will be the same kind of compassionate, transparent, efficient and accountable lifesaving shelter that is being achieved in other jurisdictions.”
The petition and comments can be viewed at https://www.change.org/p/contra-costa-county-board-of-supervisors-request-for-investigation-audit-of-contra-costa-animal-services-martinez-pinole-shelters