Mendocino County to discuss future of troubled animal shelter

The nonprofit foundation that operates animal shelters for Petaluma, Healdsburg and Cloverdale is now offering to run Mendocino County’s facility, which was recently the subject of a critical county grand jury report.

Petaluma Animal Services Foundation’s executive director, Jeff Charter, has told the county he believes his organization can make improvements to the facility without any additional costs to taxpayers. Mendocino County Animal Care’s current budget is $924,087. The department’s anticipated revenue is just under $593,000, leaving the county to cover the $331,000 shortfall out of the general fund, according to county budget documents.

Charter was unavailable Friday, but in a letter to the county, he said he was asked by a group of people that included shelter volunteers and other concerned area residents, to consider taking over Mendocino County’s Ukiah-based facility.

County supervisors on Tuesday will consider investigating the offer as part of a review of potential changes to the organization following a critical grand jury report.

While the operation’s airy lobby and other public areas are fairly new, kept clean and generally are pleasant to visit, the report flunked the county agency on many grounds. The grand jury concluded that the operation is underfunded, poorly run and maintained, the shelter overcrowded and that staff members suffer from low morale and discord in their ranks.

Animal control since 2009 has been operated jointly by the county’s Health and Human Services department and the Sheriff’s Office. The Grand Jury has suggested, among other things, that operations be consolidated under one department, preferably the Sheriff’s Office.

The heads of both departments said Friday that Petaluma Animal Services Foundation’s proposition is worth exploring.

“I think it would be an interesting option to see what they ?could offer,” said Stacy Cryer, director of Health and Human Services.

Sheriff Tom Allman said he’s met with Charter and is enthusiastic about the potential improvements he could bring to the operation, including expanded hours and services.

“I’m excited about it and I certainly am anxious to hear more of what they have to offer,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer ?Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or On Twitter ?@MendoReporter.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette