Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

August 17, 2004 > Hard Times at the Animal Shelter - Again!

Hard Times at the Animal Shelter - Again!

by Nancy Lyon

Look for the Tri-City Animal Shelter to be closed on Saturdays for an undetermined period -- starting last weekend. The unexpected and possibly lengthy leave of absence of a senior fulltime officer has placed the already bare bones staff in a position where they are unable to provide shelter access to the public and provide field services for more than four a days a week.

We want to emphasize that this is not a decision that Animal Services, a division of the Fremont Police Department, or Police Department superiors are pleased about. They have offered alternative solutions to city managers that would provide for at least one additional officer to be added to staff and retain the present level of service - only to have been shot down by bureaucratic inflexibility. Because of this, the loss of one vital staff member has brought on this emergency action -- which was bound to happen -- given the skeletal staffing.

It seems that not only is the animal shelter low priority with decision makers at the Fremont Department of Human Resources (FDHR), there seems little understanding or consideration that these are not beans to be counted. A moment's compassion is all it takes for the epiphany to occur that these are innocent lives that could and must be saved.

Let's ask that the FDHR take a moment and get creative about adding staff to cover this emergency and permanently address the others that predictably will occur because of understaffing. Each closed Saturday at the animal shelter will be counted in lives lost unnecessarily.

Please do not call the animal shelter or the police department - they have no control over this issue. The FDHR can be directly contacted by calling 510-494-4660. Try a call to the voicemail of the Mayor and Fremont City Councilmembers at 510-284-4060. It couldn't hurt - and you can make a difference!

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