City to separate from Kern County Animal Shelter

City to separate from Kern County Animal Shelter

The City of Bakersfield says after a lack of communication with the county, it will officially separate from the Kern County Animal Shelter and operate its own animal care facility.

BAKERSFIELD - The City of Bakersfield says after a lack of communication with the county, it will officially separate from the Kern County Animal Shelter and operate its own animal care facility.

Kern County Animal Control calls the decision an endangerment to animal welfare and public safety.

The city says it has been at odds with the county since May.

But, the county says it had a verbal agreement on a new plan for an animal shelter with the city in July.

This comes after city officials say the county was being unresponsive about plans for a joint animal shelter.

Come next month, the county will no longer run the shelter on Mount Vernon Avenue.

"We will be parting ways with them and going down a different path," said Steven Teglia, Assistant to the City Manager.

It's a decision the city has been considering since last month.

Now it's official, the city has cut ties with the county on the issue of animal control.

"The fact that we had to go through and extend our current arrangement by an additional three months, from June to September, and we're getting close to September. We really felt that we needed to start to take control of this situation and provide a different option for the future," said Teglia.

The county shelter sits on city land, and city officials say since the one-year agreement with the county expired in June, communication has been limited.

The city and county had plans to run a joint animal shelter at the current Mount Vernon location. But, that required a new two-year agreement.

The city says since it still hasn't heard from county officials, it's best to part ways.

"It's unfair to the city and others that we might seek to partner with, to have this lack of clarity in this evolving situation," said Teglia.

Last month, animal control officials said they were looking into a possible one-year extension and if a joint shelter was best for the county.

"We're completely caught by surprise and hopefully we can still find a way to chart a course together in the future for animal control, which I still am going to remain optimistic that we can do," said County Supervisor Zack Scrivner.

The city says it's already looking for other partners to collaborate with.

"We look at it as a positive. Through a partnership with the SPCA and the Homeless Center, we think we'll be able to collaborate on providing for the care and sheltering of unwanted animals in the city of Bakersfield in a more efficient way and also provide a higher level of service," Teglia continued.

September 30th will be the county's last day at the shelter, but if staff needs more time, the city will give them until December 1st.

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