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Healdsburg council approves animal control, shelter deal

Healdsburg's dogs and cats could be in good hands for the foreseeable future as the result of a contract for animal control and sheltering approved Monday night by the City Council.

The council unanimously approved an innovative joint proposal by the Sonoma Humane Society and Petaluma Animal Services Foundation to take over those functions in Healdsburg, following the demise of the city's independently-run Healdsburg Animal Shelter last summer.

"The outcome is great. Both have stellar backgrounds and track records," said Mayor Susan Jones.

"It's clear the animals of Healdsburg will get a level of care the citizens of Healdsburg want them to get," said Councilman Tom Chambers.

He referred to the $235,000 annual contract approved between the city and the two groups as "a little more money," but said constituents "have made it very clear we want to invest in this."

One important aspect of the arrangement for council members is that citizens will have the ability to surrender or adopt animals, be reunited with lost animals and pay for licensing without having to travel outside the city.

In the past five months, Sonoma County Animal Care and Control, headquartered near the Sonoma County Airport, has served Healdsburg in the absence of a local shelter.

The Sonoma Humane Society will have a trailer and a mobile adoption unit stationed during the day in Healdsburg, while Petaluma Animal Services Foundation will provide animal control — although with a Healdsburg-based officer branded as such.

Still unresolved is the fate of the nearly completed new animal shelter building which has been languishing for two years after the general contractor went bankrupt and a lawsuit ensued.

But the directors of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, which built the unfinished shelter on Bacchus Landing Way, have agreed to allow the Humane Society to use the property for their trailer and adoption unit.

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