City of Chico may outsource animal shelter & control

Another step toward in the city of Chico toward privatization to cut costs and pension debt.

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 4:30 PM

"Our community values animals, there's a lot of passionate people in relation to animal control services," said Mark Orme, Chico City Manager.

You may be surprised to learn that the Chico Police Department is responsible for animal control and shelter in the city - they collect strays and take in whatever the community can't handle. But now, the city's hoping to turn this service into a contract job.

"We look at what options we might consider to see if there is a better operational approach to take, if there are folks out there that can provide better services for less cost," said Orme.

It costs the city about $900,000 a year, a big chunk of change, and a lot of it's going toward pensions.

"Obviously retirement, government retirement is expensive, and one of the things we can consistently look at it is how to operationalize levels of efficiency and save on that long-term liability," said Orme.

Right now a lot of people are talking about the Humane Society as a potential candidate; in fact, the Chico Animal Shelter shares a property with the B.H.S.

"It's fragmented at this time, so there is a lot of confusion, so that's one other reason why we want to see if it can be done comprehensively," said Orme.

"This is coming on the cusp of Butte Humane Society moving to a new facility north of town - it just makes sense for us to bring animal welfare for our community under one roof," said Katrina Woodcox, Executive Director for the Butte Humane Society.

It'd be more than just extra kennel space - for example, the city can't limit their intake - and that can mean resorting to euthanasia, something the Butte Humane Society doesn't do.

"There are situations where animals come in an hard decisions have to be made .. Should Butte Humane get the contact, we'd have to become an open-admission shelter as well and have to deal with all of those issues," said Woodcox.

Orme says the city won't sacrifice quality of service for a cheap deal, that's why they want to hear any and all ideas.

"We want to make a very good decision, and the only way we can do that is based on the responses you get," said Orme.

Proposals willb e accepted through Valentine's day, and the city manager says he hoeps to make a reccommendation to city council by March.

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