A discussion of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter was pulled from the City Council agenda at the last minute Monday.

Mayor Gary Plass said the item was postponed because of the illness of one of the directors who was scheduled to appear at Monday night meeting.

City Council members had asked directors to answer a long list of questions on the shelter's operations and budget.

A number of shelter volunteers and donors in February asked the City Council for help in lifting what some described as a "veil of secrecy" at the non-profit organization.

The shelter has been beset with high leadership turnover, fund-raising failures, and controversy over animal adoptions.

The city pays the shelter more than $115,000 per year to provide animal control services. Healdsburg Police officials who oversee the contract give generally favorable reviews to the shelter, saying it does a good job balancing enforcement, education and care for animals.

But a partially completed attempt to build a new modern shelter on Westside Road has also led to concerns.

City officials want to know about the status of the $3.5 million shelter, including who decided it was not designed properly, what the cost estimate is to complete it and how long that will take.

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