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May 31, 2005 > Quad-City Animal Shelter?

Quad-City Animal Shelter?

by Nancy Lyon

The Tri-City Animal Shelter presently serves to house stray and surrendered animals from Fremont, Newark and Union City. This is a burgeoning area where the number of impounded animals often strains the shelter system's ability to care for them.

Ohlone Humane Society has a 22 year history of supporting the shelter and its animals, so it views with serious concern that the Tri-City Animal Shelter (TCAS) is in the process of contracting with the City of San Leandro to additionally house their stray animals. How would it be possible for the small and under-staffed Fremont facility to be able to adequately care for the increased number of animals?

San Leandro animals are presently impounded at Hayward Animal Shelter and that contract is not being renewed. When an OHS representative inquired about the specific number of animals that would share the Fremont shelter, Hayward responded that because of contract negotiations this public information was unavailable. Hayward apparently thinks that the San Leandro contract was NOT a good deal. Why does Fremont think otherwise?

It is hoped that the additional revenue would be used to extend shelter hours and the number of shelter staff and not just go into the general police department budget.

In any case, the spectre of overcrowding resulting in shorter holding time for adoptable animals, increased exposure to often life-threatening diseases, elevated stress levels and related aggression resulting in injuries and more animals failing temperament evaluations and being euthanized-still remains a reality.

Several times in recent months, there have been outbreaks of deadly parvovirus in shelter dogs. Given the limited number of kennels available, staff was faced with the challenging task of trying to quarantine those possibly infected while protecting incoming dogs from exposure. Space limitations found dogs held in what was previously the night depository with no place else to go. Even then, with shelter staff's tireless efforts to contain the disease, adoptable animals died. Some were on the very brink of being re-homed.

There is always the danger of disease exposure in a sheltering situation. When again, there is an outbreak that threatens lives with increased shelter population --when there is literally no where to "stash" animals--how can they be protected?

It is disturbing that public awareness of these negotiations has been so low and that there has been little chance of public response. Our animals are faced with living with and perhaps dying from the results. Times are tough, but is overcrowding worth the cost?

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