Despite the concerns of local animal advocates, Eugene and Lane County continue to work to transition to a “new model” for animal services. There are two upcoming “community input sessions” the public can attend to voice worries over the impending demise of Lane County Animal Services (LCAS).
The county says budget shortfalls at the county and city have spurred the current attempt to change animal services. Sondra Arrache of Save the Pets and the No Kill Community Coalition (NKCC) says animal advocates are concerned that the “transition team” doesn’t include members of the LCAS advisory board and other knowledgeable animal advocates. Current LCAS manager Rick Hammel has only one year of animal welfare experience.
Lane County’s vocal animal advocacy community formed the NKCC, which in the past five years helped dramatically improve adoption rates and reduce euthanasia at LCAS.
Among the NKCC’s concerns are the how, with no concrete plan, money is actually going to be saved. The group says the right now the city and county are looking at models from locations that have a lower quality of animal care and higher euthanasia rates, instead of places with a higher quality of care and lower euthanasia rates.
The animal advocates also say that one of the options that has been discussed — shifting animal control shifted to the police could lead to people who are more afraid to call officers for animal issues. Animal officers connected to a shelter are more apt to provide “providing counseling and resources to help people be better pet parents.”
The first session will focus on sheltering and adoption services. It will be at 7 pm Thursday, March 15, in the Bascom-Tykeson Room of the Eugene Public Library. There will be representatives from Lane County, Eugene and Springfield.
The second session at 7 pm, Thursday, April 5, is also at the library and will feature representatives of Eugene and Lane County discussing enforcement and licensing services.
The NKCC says it wants to see this process slowed down and would also like to see the city and county use the animal expertise and resources animal advocates are offering for free. The group says it wants to see “LCAS stay funded in its present form, until we can come up with a model that can succeed.”
For more information on the NKCC go to its Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/17w