Opinion - Animal Lives Matter!



By June Lavine | February 13, 2016 |

How Much?

If you are soccer parents and own an animal, would you choose your animal's life over a soccer field? How would your children respond to that? Would they miss their pet?

If your family loves to go to a swim center, would you euthanize your pet in able to do so? Tell your children you first have to stop at the vets before going swimming? Do you see any problem with that?

It frightens me to think that possibly some of you answered yes. Because that is what is happening in Elk Grove!

I appreciate all of these wonderful plans for our community. If it weren't for our animals being killed, I would gladly say, "Yes, let's build them all!"

I would like to think that all of you would say to our City Council "Animal Lives DO Matter! Let's take care of them first."

So many people don't even realize how urgent it is that we have our own animal shelter. Animals are being euthanized at local shelters due to lack of space!

In a petition I noted that the city had been doing nothing to solve this urgent matter. Mayor Gary Davis was upset by my statement. I sent him a letter on January 28, 2016 to explain why I had come to that conclusion.  In summary I explained:

I had asked the City in April of 2015 what was being done to get our own animal shelter and was told, that there was no committee assigned to the project and that they were unsure if and when it would take place.

In July of 2015, I asked for some help from Representative Ami Bera's office. They contacted the City on my behalf and then instructed me to call Mayor Davis to speak with him personally regarding this matter.

I left several messages for Mayor Davis, but never received a return call.

Since September of 2015, I have had ongoing conversations with the Deputy City Manager and was told that no locations were found that were suitable for an animal shelter.

When I asked for updates some time later, I was told that they were going to look for city owned properties only, but at that time, there were none.

Finally, from the progress reported to the City Council on January 13, 2016, staff was evaluating City owned property on Iron Rock Way and Union Park Way.

This property was previously identified as a potential animal shelter in the original master plan!

A year later and we have gone full circle and must now wait several more months so staff may further study, plan, re-evaluate, refine and update, more meetings, more site plans and finalize budgets!

I absolutely love animals! It breaks my heart that the lives of innocent animals are being taken so lightly and from what I see, absolutely no sense of urgency.

I would also like to address the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.  I believe you have an obligations to see that our City is the very best it can be. As well as taking excellent care of your customers, loyalty to each other, you also have responsibility for those who cannot speak for themselves.

I am asking each and every one of you to read, sign and share the attached petition.

We must let our City leaders know that Animal Lives Matter!

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"     ~Gandhi

An online petition on Change.org for those supporting the establishment of an animal shelter in Elk Grove can be signed here


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16 comments

Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration, but taking an either/or approach is somewhat troubling. To the best of my knowledge the soccer fields and aquatics center plans have not been finalized to date. Another question I would have is why is the letter/petition being addressed to the Mayor and 3 councilmembers when we have a Mayor and 4 councilmembers? Perhaps this is a personal statement, error in posting or something else easily explained. None the less, it is unprofessional and should be corrected...you just may need that 3-2 vote! Letter addressed to..........

Mayor Gary Davis Elk Grove City Council
Vice Mayor Patrick Hume
Councilmember Darren Suen
Councilmember Steve Ly

Anonymous said...

I feel an Animal Shelter is more important than the casino that is being considered. A casino would bring money to our city and the possibility of more crime and less safety from our citizens and of those from outside Elk Grove. Our city is quaint, pleasant and friendly. Elk Grove needs a shelter of its own so that its citizens do not have to travel to the Front Street or Bradshaw shelters to possibly find their missing pet. Our city pays millions to contract with the Front Street shelter so that we may have a place to bring pets that are picked up by the city's Animal control employees. That millions can go towards our own shelter if we had one. Also, the casino will bring employment opportunities, but so would the animal shelter. Last month the SSPCA took in 300 animals, that is more than they are equipped for and not all animals found a home. Our city needs a place where families can bring their pets for low cost spaying/neutering, microchipped and to house lost pets until their owners are found. Please, please, please sign the petition, request the building of a shelter be made part of the city council meetings and attend the meetings to make our pets voices, as well as our heard.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:43...the only thing is, the Casino will not be built on our taxpayer dollars as an Animal Shelter will. It's not that we would not like to have all the above facilities, but our taxpayers dollars just spread so far. It's not only the cost to build, but the yearly costs to run the facility. If I remember, the Aquatics Center alone will run approx. $1 M in the red to operate and I believe the Animal Shelter would be in that ballpark also. We have to be fiscally responsible and not bite off more than we can chew no matter how bad we want something. Much like we run our households, those dollars just stretch so far. We have so many projects in the works now with no bottom line as to costs to complete, let alone when they will ever be completed.

Some of us were laughing the other day about the Animal Shelter and wondered why you hadn't thought about doing as the Aquatics & Soccer teams did...pack the house with the players, which in your case would be the PETS.. They love that and it gets you a YES vote!

Anonymous said...

When everyone was getting in line for their, and pardon the pun, “pet projects,” whether it be the Veteran’s Hall, Senior Center and/or the sports complex which became an aquatics center, can you blame the residents that wanted an animal shelter to ask, “What about us?”

Answering that question, and championing their cause, was Pat Hume.
Ms. Lavine, isn’t it true over on Elk Grove Online and Elk Grove Laguna Forums, it was Hume who raised hopes that the animal shelter is still on the list and would become a reality?

While admirable because Hume is certainly an animal advocate, to imply Gary Davis is not is not a fair statement. Gary and his family have two dogs which they love more than life itself. The same is true of Darren Suen and Steve Ly. Their dogs are important members of their families.

As a matter of public record, the councilman who has consistently stated that “two-legged animals come first before any four-legged animals” is Steve Detrick and he has denied all funding in the past for the Animal Rescue League. I believe he stated same for the animal shelter. So your frustration might be misdirected here.

The truth is there isn’t enough money for all these projects and having them all come up at once appears to be more of a way of getting media attention and votes.

April Mendez said...

Ms. Lavine, your logic is nonsensical. Soccer field vs. pet. Aquatic center vs. pet. In your scenario the family owns the pet, cares for the pet and houses the pet. Why do they need an animal shelter? Are you suggest those of us who own pets and have children dispose of them on a whim?

Also, I am disgusted by your riff on Black Lives Matter....and I'm not even Black. Black Lives Matter is a reaction to the many recent deaths perpetrated by bad apple, rogue cops. To trivialize Black Lives Matter is gutless and disrespectful in my opinion.

As stated, there are 4 council members and 1 Mayor. Interestingly you left off Detrick. One has to wonder why.

There is not enough money to have it all. As a taxpayer I refuse to pay anymore in taxes than I already do and will vote no on any proposed increased sales tax or any additional tax for that matter. The City of Elk Grove already contracts with the County of Sacramento for animal shelter services. That is adequate. The problem is not about having a shelter in Elk Grove. The problem is irresponsible pet owners. I have animals. They are vaccinated and under my control at all times. I have not need of an animal shelter. My animals are not disposable as you have suggested.

I would petition the Elk Grove City Council to manage my tax dollars responsibly. In my opinion, it is financially impossible to have a Senior Center, Veterans Hall, Aquatic Center, Soccer complex and an animal shelter. Prioritize. And yes, people before pets, which are a luxury. The animal shelter and Aquatic Center are money pits. They will always operate at a deficit and continually beg for more money. NO!

And by the way, as noted, the Casino would be a private company and would not be taxpayer funded. How about support the Casino idea and ask them to fund an animal shelter?

June LaVine said...

Great idea April! I would love the casino to fund an animal shelter! Would you voice support for the casino if we were promised an animal shelter? How many years do you think it would take? All I want is an animal shelter. Not trying to hurt anyone. Would you be willing to help?

June LaVine said...

Great idea April! I would love the casino to fund an animal shelter! Would you voice support for the casino if we were promised an animal shelter? How many years do you think it would take? All I want is an animal shelter. Not trying to hurt anyone. Would you be willing to help?

April Mendez said...

Sorry, i cannot support an Elk Grove Animal Shelter. The City of Elk Grove runs on the contract model and I find it to be overall cost efficient. Contracting withe County of Sacramento is cost efficient and should not be changed. Any animal shelter built and operated by the city will operate at a deficit. I am not willing to put my money into a losing proposition; the same is true of the Aquatic Center. I will not vote for increased taxes to offset any deficit for such poor financial decisions.

I have a finite amount of dollars to spend each month and I budget accordingly. I do not operate my household on a deficit. The same should hold true for the City of Elk Grove, especially when the taxpayers are going to be the one's having to make for all that red ink. You may want an animal shelter, but we don't need one.

Spoons and Forks said...

I agree with April. As much as we love our pets, this is a function best left to the county.

Sharon Andrews said...

I am angry about the factual misstatements above. Elk Grove does not contract with Front Street Shelter. It is the shelter on Bradshaw. The contract expires this year. Elk Grove's money was wasted as we almost no benefit from the contract!

Are you unaware that the County us in excess of $650K a year for its services? That does NOT include patrols by County-owned animal vehicles. EG staff picks up our animals and takes them to the shelter -- when and only when the shelter accepts EG's animals.

The contract gives the County shelter the right to refuse Elk Grove's animals at any time! It exercises the option frequently! More often than not the County shelter refuses to take an EG animal of any kind from Animal Control or from an Elk Grove resident. That's a fact!

EG’s original obligation was $495,000 per year? The contract was signed in December 2013, and the yearly fee increased three times $650,000 by January 2015. The current cost is unknown. Who wants to ask the Mayor this time?

Even at $650,000, it’s too much money for a service that can rarely be utilized by EG Animal Control. Don't you recall seeing notices posted by our Animal Control that an animal is riding in one of our trucks because EGAC does not want to take it to the shelter? Our animals sometimes spend hours and hours in our trucks. Why? Because the County shelter has no room. Surprised?

EG residents who try to drop off unwanted/stray animals at the shelter are turned away. If they insist on leaving their animal(s, they are told bluntly it will be euthanized. Spring is here. The shelter won’t take litters of unwanted kittens -- no room.

Did you read the horrible article on the Bradshaw shelter in the Bee a few weeks ago? Its kill rate has skyrocketed! It suffers from poor management, understaffing, and inadequate hours. It's closed more than it’s open. It cannot provide adequate adoption services, but it's where EG's animals are forced to go!

No matter how careful we try to be, sometimes our animals do get out. If your family pet ended up at the County's facility, would it be treated well? When it happened to me, I didn’t bring my baby home.

I attempted to work with the city. I met with great resistance, foot-dragging, and excuses, too. The goals they set were laughable. They knew last winter there was no property for a remodel and no vacant land the city could afford, but they persisted in looking through the listings once a month for an entire year anyway.

The City Council discussed the shelter at its January 13th meeting. Per Mayor Davis, a feasibility/cost update will be complete in April and a review/analysis of funding schemes. Why now? Why not last year? It needed to know precisely how much the city could afford before searching for a remodel or a bare piece of land.

Several councilmembers assured those in attendance the Council's sudden interest in the shelter is not an election-year ploy but a sincere effort to find a way to construct an animal shelter. Excuse me for laughing!

And for the people above who stated they will not pay more taxes to fund an animal shelter, I have this to say. I pay for soccer fields, softball fields, bike trails, and far too many parks/playgrounds for your little darlings, yet I have no small children. I accept my civic responsibility. It is not okay for you to shirk yours.

Will you still think it’s an unnecessary frill when your child is bitten by a stray? It is a valid health and safety issue.

Warren Buffett said...

I propose that a 'fickle finger of fate' be erected on top of a pole on the City Council chambers. Then whenever an idea presents itself, a digital vote calculator will transmit how many potential votes such an idea can bring to each councilmember.

For example, a soccer stadium will net x number of votes because each soccer kid has roughly two voting parents. Those crime prevention workshops and the "stronger neighborhoods" campaign that seems to take off during each mayoral election cycle will net x number of votes because residents fear crime and will vote for the politician who promises to hire more police officers. The Vets Hall will net x number of votes from vets and family members of vets.

Now, seeing how the City Council already have their votes covered from all of the other spending propositions, the fact that you also have a pet is duplicative in terms of votes gained per dollar. Now if there were a lot of households with pets but no soccer kids, no swimming kids, no veterans or association with vet, or neighborhoods not pacified with promsises of more cops--well then you;d have yourself an animal shelter!

Anonymous said...

I too accept my civic responsibility. I just expect my elected officials to spend my share responsibly. And my "little darlings" are all grown up, and guess what? They don't want the city to spend money on an animal shelter or Aquatic Center either. Yes, I'm aware we contract with the County of Sacramento and not the City of Sacramento, which is Front Street. Regardless, it's what we can afford.

And a little FYI, there really is no such thing as a "no kill" animal shelter. Sick, old, unadoptable are put down. PETA has an animal shelter on the east coast. Guess what? They put down animals all the time.

So while it may not be the best option, contracting with the County of Sacramento is what Elk Grove can afford. That's good enough for me and a lot of other residents.

Bubba said...

To Sharon and other so inclined:

Let's make sure we have an understanding.
You will NOT vote for any incumbent in the Nov city council races?
Is that right?

Yeah! - Progress is in the works, get the word out you animal lovers!

NO INCUMBENTS!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Your fight is with the City Council, not the people on this site. They keep throwing hopeful signs to you, but never any action. As Mayor Davis would say, "light a fire" and in this case it would be under the City Council.

Yes, NO INCUMBENTS or APPOINTEES in the Nov. city council races. Time to clean the Peoples House.

Spoons and Forks said...

Vote for Lynn Wheat!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the city look at contracting with Sacramento City's Front Street Shelter while this is worked out?

If the county can't deliver, go to another contracting agency.

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