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Palo Alto considers shutting down animal shelter

Original post made on Mar 26, 2012

Palo Alto's Animal Services Center, a fixture on East Bayshore Road for the past four decades, could be shut down or relocated to make way for an auto dealership under a new proposal that the city is exploring. ==B Related material:==
• [Web Link First Person: A conversation with Sandy Stadler]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 26, 2012, 9:33 PM

Comments (152)

Posted by david m
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

The thought of allowing a digital billboard here is repulsive.

Posted by Amused Policy Watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm

With Espinosa, Holman and Schmid on the Policy and Services Committee, they effectively killed the idea for this year. Larry Klein will have to do a lot of politicking to get the others to do anything that might adversely affect the Baylands.

The proposal doesn't fit with any existing policies: Baylands Master Plan, Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Maps, or even the old 1987 Council-approved MSC Master Plan.

At least it will keep the city staff and a bunch of consultants busy for a while.

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

So what would happen to our dogs???

What if they happen to escape from their yard as out late dog did when we were on vacation because our former dog sitter wasn't doing her job??

And the idea of the billboard is disgusting.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 27, 2012 at 1:42 am

Palo Alto Municipal Code (excerpts)

16.20.090 Prohibited signs: No flashing, moving or roof signs shall be erected within the city.

16.20.120 Freestanding signs: in no case shall the sign size exceed fifty square feet.

Chapter 16.20 Table 2: Allowable Sign Height for Freestanding Signs ... 25 feet maximum.

Certainly our esteemed architectural review board will apply good taste to any request for exceptions.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:45 am

The people in this town are just plain silly sometimes. We have already lost dealerships over the past few years and we are on the verge of losing another. To suggest that one billboard on the east side of 101 will ruin "the view"? Please.

The baylands may be a fine place to jog or take a walk. But "a view" it is not. Foothills Park. Arastradero Preserve. Those are beautiful sites that should not be compromised. The baylands area, on the other hand, houses a sewage treatment plant and the old dump. Let's not kid ourselves. If we can generate tax revenue and improve or retain the services we have come to expect as residents by permitting an auto dealership to move in where there is already a building, we should do it.

Posted by Thomas Paine IV
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:05 am

Maybe Redwood City will offer Anderson a nice spot off 101 near Whipple. Getting them out of Palo Alto also reduces traffic on Embarcadero Road. And the huge savings from pension reform we don't need the sales tax revenues generated by the dealership.

Posted by Last Night Was Great Example
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:56 am

Last Night was likely a great example of why Palo Alto has no tax base and has to continue to cut services around the city.

They literally say no to every viable opportunity to make some tax dollars so us citizens dont have to pay so much in taxes here in town.

Look at all the shopping in Mountain View that could have come to the south end of Palo Alto and given us millions in tax dollars.

See all the dealerships that have gone and will continue to leave.

Has anyone actually looked at the site. It would look better as a dealership than the currently utilities vehicles and crap everywhere.

What a bunch of NIMBY's we have all become.

there is no view of the bay from this site. If you want to see the bay drive out to the end of embarcadero.

we are in for more years of decline unless we start saying yes to some sort of economic base

Posted by George
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

> Emily Renzel, a former City Council member and a devout
> conservationist, also slammed the idea of bringing a dealership
> to the animal-shelter site.

> "The reason they want the freeway frontage is for free advertising,"
> Renzel said, referring to the auto dealers. "We don't have to use
> our public land to give free advertising."

And that "free advertising" will help to increase sales, which will, increase City revenues. You have to wonder how anyone who has been a part of the Palo Alto decision process for as long as this person has can be so daft, or hostile to the fundamental funding mechanisms of our society.

Hopefully, her voice will be ignored, if this is all she has to add to the discussion.

Posted by Elisabeth
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

Consider locating the animal shelter at the car dealership that would be vacated on Embarcadero. That would still make it very accessible. The user fees at the shelter, such as vaccinations, could be raised slightly. I found them to be extremely reasonable when I had may cat vaccinated, last month. The staff are friendly and I feel comfortable there, including shopping for pet items, knowing the shelter is benefiting from the sale. Perhaps more of us can shop there for pet products .

Posted by EPAcitizen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

East Palo Alto pays Peninsula Humane Society a lot more than Mountain View was paying to Animal Services for very minimal service. I think it would be logical to consider a partnership with East Palo Alto.

Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

How rudimentary is the current animal shelter? How much attention would be needed to bring it up to par? It sounds as though no improvements have been made in quite some time.

If the baylands property is so attractive to a dealership, why not negotiate a deal whereby we get a new shelter inside Palo Alto, accessible to all? Shelter standards have changed dramatically in the last few decades.

I dare say it would be worth Anderson Honda's while to sweeten the pot considerably. Palo Alto keeps its tax revenue, gets a better animal shelter, and the baylands "view" will be just fine.


Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

For once I agree with Emily Renzel, we should not put an auto dealership along the frontage road by the Baylands. Yuck! Palo Alto should have a different perspective -- and a different look than East Palo Alto. No car lots and neon signs along Bayshore! We are unique because of the view of the marsh and the bay beyond.

A regional solution for the dogs could be better, if it saves money and is more efficient. None of us want to see

We can do better than this.

Posted by Julian
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:27 am

"Certainly our esteemed architectural review board will apply good taste to any request for exceptions."

Long sentence for saying "rubber stamp". :-) and :-(

Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

rem is a registered user.

Municipal Services Center, a critical hub of city services

For AUTO dealer or anything else in that location - NO - NO -NO - NO - NO - NO

Hopefully our Policy and Services Committee plus the City Council will learn how to say one (1) word >>>> NO !!!!

Posted by Tish
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

I like the fact that none of you care about the animals. Bravo.

Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

There are two separate issues here, the shelter and the dealership
As for the shelter its time for it to go. There are better options nearby for all the services offered and PA doesn't need to be wasting money retaining, maintaining and running its own shelter anymore.
How to best use the space is a totally different matter. If the answer is to put in a dealership I can live with that, it will certainly contribute to the PA bank account

Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Tish --

My comment, four above yours, was an attempt to convey a great deal of care for the animals.

Posted by Teresa
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I really have appreciated all the cats I got from the shelter. The folks there are wonderful. I am looking for a new cat so I guess I better get along there quickly! As for the dealership, if the shelter is going to close anyway then why not? I am struggling to keep within my pension and would love some taxes coming into Palo Alto coffers that was not mine.

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

PLEASE, don't close the animal shelter. There must be something that can be done. It can be improved or relocated in the City Palo Alto. More volunteers might be the answer. I'm sure there are many of us who would volunteer rather than see the shelter close. We need to keep the animal shelter.

NO to auto dealerships and NO to billboards!

Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

We need to sell cars in the Baylands to spew greenhouse gases so the new garbage processor in the Baylands offset them.

And, get real about that billboard, people. Palo Alto is the only city fronting 101 that doesn't have a billboard worthy of the name. How can we hold our head up at ABAG meetings?

Posted by Animal lover
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm

An auto dealership, there, right by the Baylands? WTH?

What's wrong with this city? This is the last place to put a new business.

Plus: Do we really want to get rid of the animal shelter? We got rid of our dump and it's a huge problem. Do you know that other cities are not too happy to have Palo Alto residents show up at their dumps?

Finally, on a more personal note, having adopted 2 cats there, i would feel nostalgic at the loss of that place.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Here are some points to consider, re closing the shelter (not to replace it w/an auto dealership, but just in closing it, period):

-PAAS has long been overlooked by the police dept. The morale has been low for quite sometime

-Locals really appreciate PAAS & the lowcost s/n clinic, but that doesn't fill the city's coffers

-PAAS administration leaves a lot to be desired. They're not highly respected, to put it mildly, locally. In the past 5 years or so, their rep has taken a nosedive. The officers, on the other hand, still have good reps. They have less turnover than other animal shelters so locals love knowing that their officers are reliable.

-It's the only shelter on the mid-peninsula & that's wonderful for all of us, espec re lost pets, spay/neuter, vaccinations, etc.

-Having worked w/several shelters over the years, I truly believe it's a mistake that this one has been under the auspices of the police dept., where it's gotten short shrift for a long time.

-They're not open 24/7, so if your lost pet gets found in the middle of the night, it's histoically been housed at the police station.

-They don't service as many animals as the nearby larger shelters.If closed, I'm sure the animals would be handled appropriately, not euthanized.

-Having done a lot of local rescue work through the years, I will always appreciate my excellent dealings w/the PAAS officers & vet staff. Can't say the same for the administration!

-I constantly recommend their store, low cost spay/neuter & vaccination services. Many of the street cats & dogs I've found have been altered there, w/out a problem. It's a wonderful service to have locally!

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Please keep the animal services center, even if it has to be relocated to the current site that Anderson's has. It's the only center of its kind on the mid-Peninsula, and it provides crucial services at a very reasonable cost. I worry that if it's closed down,people will be less able or inclined to get their pets spayed or neutered, or vaccinated. And people will be less able or inclined to go and adopt animals, too.

Palo Alto should be enlightened and civilized, and keep its animal services open!

Posted by Outsource More
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm

If our public "servants" and their unions continue to buy support from the city council for over-market pensions and benefits that will be paid off by our children, the faster we can outsource any city service to the private sector (which is these days much much more cost effective than the public sector) the better.

It's a shame, because this is a rich city and we should be able to run our own shelter with something approaching efficiency, but nothing is worth it if the taxpayers are getting ripped off.

Posted by Michele
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Certainly the shelter could use upgrades, in both the building and the front-office staff. I find it appalling that four of the employees are pedigree dog breeders. Didn't know that? Yes, it's true. Certainly seems to be a conflict of interest here. In the 12 years I have been going to the shelter, I've have not seen a single improvemnt or revenue-generating idea put into place, and I have seen PLENTY of proposals. Also misunderstood is the high kill rate at Palo Alto - people think because it's Palo Alto that they "don't euthanize." Don't kid yourself - while it's true they don't have a time limit, and work well, as I understand, with some of the rescue societies, they are not a no-kill shelter. Not saying it's even possible to consider being a no-kill shelter, just making a point. The Animal Control Officers are wonderful - the breeders in the front office, not so much. I'd like to see a new shelter with new blood and passion for the animals rather than the employees worrying about losing their pensions and lifetime health care.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

The time has passed for a community our size to expect to staff and maintain an entire animal services division. If there is any service that should be regionalized, this would be the one. Other surrounding communities have outsourced their animal services to the Santa Clara County Humane Department and so should we.

During these unprecedented and difficult financial times we must make sacrifices and cuts, especially in those desired, but not essential areas. The county service seems to be perfectly adequate so it's not like we're making a wholesale cut. The city and tax payers would save considerable funds in terms of the overall savings with maintenance, salaries, and employee benefits. I respect the service our employees have provided over the years at the current shelter, but it's simply a luxury we can no longer afford.

Posted by dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Well said, Marrol.

What most posters overlook is that Palo Alto can no longer afford all the services it provides. Outsourcing to another agency would require people to travel a longer distance for service, but we all do this now for many services. Times are changing.

Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The Silicon Valley Humane Society, which used to be near the insulation plant and San Jose Airport, opened a beautiful new facility around three years ago.

It mamy be time to look into associating Palo Alto with this fine organization.

Posted by Local resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm

The logical place for an auto dealership in Palo Alto that has a frontage on H.101 is off East Charleston between San Antonio Road and Charleston Plaza.

The City continues to ignore this very valuable piece of land and let it continue to deteriorate with ugly old warehouses.

Posted by Graihwing
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Graihwing is a registered user.

March 27, 2012

Dear Palo Alto,

I want to sincerely thank you for providing my life and livelihood as your animal control officer for the past four decades ongoing at our Police Department’s Animal Services Division.

Too often I have expected only to receive your gratitude while forgetting the absolute role you play in setting the foundation for my work through your tax dollars and your heartfelt community support.

While I hope for future opportunities to serve, I appreciate the present economic state may force your hand in another direction -- away from what has been ours since 1894 and into the hands of an outside source. Should this be the road taken or should you choose to keep with this venerable institution, I wish you Godspeed with your decision and smooth sailing in your chosen direction.

I am with gratitude,
Your civil servant,

William Warrior
Senior Animal Control Officer
City of Palo Alto Police Department
Animal Services Division
3281 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Posted by PetLover
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm

A car dealership would not hurt the "view". It's hilarious to think that our bay front provides a view worth saving. After growing up and living until age 30 in the southeastern U.S., where ocean-front views and wildlife preserves really are beautiful, I could hardly believe the trashy appearance of Palo Alto's bay front. Slashed by the ugliest freeway in the world (101), dominated by gigantic electrical transmission towers, discolored by salt production. I'm glad its there because it provides good habitat, but views? Puh-lease. As someone else commented, go into the Foothills or to the Pacific Coast if you want views. Me, I think I'd rather see a car dealership than transmission towers ...

Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm

We love you, WW! All of your hard work, great attitude and definite gifts with animals are very much appreciated.

Michele - thank you for the info that you shared. I wasn't aware that there were 4 dog breeders on staff - disturbing - although I'm sure they justufy it.

The administration there sure could stand to be more supportive of the surrounding, busier animal shelters, but PAAS has gotten lazy. The ACOs, not so much - they still walk their talk - literally.

Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

On the issue of advertising at that site: There is already an established precedent for allowing it.

During the debate on the solar panels, the questions of cost-effectiveness of the (expensive) mounting on towers that allow them to track the sun (vs roofs) was dismissed with the explanation that their primary role was consciousness-raising for passing motorists, that is, advertising.

For someone on 101, the sound walls and the need to play attention to traffic means there is little ability or opportunity to see the Baylands, so an explanation is needed for why a billboard is a problem.

For someone in the Baylands, they would see the billboard only when looking back towards 101, and such a billboard would likely have minimal impact because it would be so close to 101 that it would visually merge into the clutter associated with 101.

Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

For those advocating Palo Alto go with a regional provider, remember that until Mountain View left the partnership, that PA AS was effectively a smaller regional provider.

And remember that when you are on the periphery of a region, that you often get poor/degraded services, especially when it is a large region.

As an earlier commenter noted, recruiting other cities to replace the loss of MtView could be considered in combination with updating the facility (potentially at another location). But such a decision should include an examination of why PA AS deteriorated to the point that MtView decided to leave.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Mr. Warrior,

Thank you for your service to the animals and the community. Bravo, and bless you!
My question is: what is the best solution for the animals that the shelter serves? They are the voiceless, and are depending on man for help finding their owners, or new homes. We must do the right thing for them, and all other considerations are secondary.

Posted by Denise
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

This is shameful, that Palo Alto would think of closing the shelter. Yes, the shelter may need some remodeling and be a bit outdated, so everyone dig deep into their pockets, find the money, and modernize the shelter.

There are MANY, MANY, MANY rescue groups that depend on the shelter for spay/neuter - dog, cat, rabbit, and rat rescue groups with whom the shelter has shared a very long and helpful relationship. It will be devastating to the rescue community to have the shelter close, and the city should be able to come up with any number of solutions. Please attend city council meetings to beg for the continuation of the shelter.

The spay/neuter program alone could sustain the shelter if more animals were allowed in - maybe take on East Palo Alto? The spay/neuter staff and veterinarian at the shelter are spectacular, and no one does a better job.

Come on Palo Alto! Don't give up and don't tell citizens it's just "the way it is due to the budget." KEEP THE SHELTER OPEN! Please, all rescue groups contact the city, attend the meetings, etc.

If the shelter IS closed, people who dump animals will still take them to the old location, realize the shelter is gone, and there will still be animals out there stranded and starving. There has to be a way to change this. Maybe if Palo Alto offered a higher level of service to Mountain View, they could get their financial support back? The city needs a shelter, period.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm


Many thanks for your post. "Shameful" is indeed the word for it.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Easy to say Denise when you're not the one paying the local taxes and funding the operation. Our city is facing annual budget deficits. Vital infrastructure needs cannot be funded without floating new bond measures and raising taxes. Sorry, but we can't afford it. Besides, the Silicon Valley Humane Society has a beautiful new facility that will be more than adequate for our animal services needs. It is time to regionalize and save the cost of doing business.

Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

The spay/neuter clinic staff and vet are wonderful. The people at the front desks...not so much. Our pets deserve a shelter in Palo Alto.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I agree with you Gail. There are indeed some wonderful and dedicated employees at animal services. However, considering the city's current financial state and the need to fund vital infrastructure and public safety needs, I'm afraid it's a luxury we can't afford. Remember that we're not losing an animal service option. The Silicon Valley Humane Society has a new facility that should more than service our needs. Several other municipalities have outsourced to Silicon Valley and so should we. It's a desired service, but not an essential one. Especially when there is a more than adequate and affordable option.

Posted by Dog Lover
a resident of Ohlone School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm

What will happen to the animals.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Mr. Warrior,

Please get out now, while you still have a pension to get out with.

You know that is next on the chopping block, and rest assured that the current City management has ZERO gratitude or appreciation for your 40 years of service.

Posted by helptheanimals
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:23 am

The ANIMALS are the first thing they need to do.
Remember them! Need good conditions, play, care, and very good ideas about how to get people to adopt pets.

Posted by lynn
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

R U kidding me? Why would this change be helpful?? Its all about $$$ Palo Alto has changed so much, its very disheartening.

Posted by Tish
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

Moi -

I missed seeing yours, my apologies. I am glad more people care.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:36 am

We've lost our recycling center, about to lose our post office, and now our animal shelter. And replace it with what? Things that make money, of course. It trickles down eventually, doesn't it?

Posted by Carole Miller
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

As a co-founder of the Stanford Cat Network, animal advocate and rescuer, and former resident of Palo Alto and nearby communities, I've had a long-standing relationship with PAAS.

* The ACOs are the best! They have been caring and dedicated. They know the communities they serve, which they have done way above and beyond their call of duty time and again.

* PAAS should continue to serve as the accessible regional shelter it has provided for displaced animals needing help from Los Altos and LAH, as well as Palo Alto and Mountain View. MV residents must now travel too far to SVACA in Santa Clara for animal services, with the loss of the contract with MV. Contracting with HSSV would mean a very long drive for PA residents all the way to Milpitas for animal services. That's not regional!

* Stanford University should contract with PAAS for animal services, because Stanford residents have a really long drive down to the San Martin Animal Shelter. Accordingly, the response time of their ACOs is two hours at best!! This unfortunate circumstance is because Stanford is an isolated unincorporated pocket of Santa Clara County o
which has animal control jurisdiction out of the SMAS. This alliance could offset loss of revenue from MV and would better serve the animals and residents of the Stanford community.

* The low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic provides convenient, affordable and outstanding veterinary care. Their scheduling needs to be flexible to accommodate the just-in-time needs of humane cat-trapping for TNR by the dedicated animal rescuers who provide population control and care of the homeless feline victims of human neglect, all at no taxpayer expense.

Improve the facilities. Expand the spay/neuter services to the animal rescue community. Relocate the facility, but keep it local in Palo Alto!!

Carole Miller   =^.".^=
Stanford Cat Network 
P.O. Box 18287 Stanford, CA 94309-8287,
Helpline (650) 566-8287,
Email [email protected]

The Stanford Cat Network is a volunteer
501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization supporting a no-kill, spay/neuter, feeding, life-time care and adoption program for all homeless cats at Stanford--by agreement with but not funded by Stanford University.

* Serving the Stanford cats and
  community since 1989
* Pioneering Trap-Neuter-Return
  (TNR) on college campuses

Posted by denise
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi Marrol, Just so you know, although I am not personally funding the operation, the 5013c organizations that pay for services at the shelter are very much helping to fund the costs. It is not all Palo Alto taxpayer's money that funds the shelter. For example, the Palo Alto Humane Society, Peninsula CatWorks, Stanford Cat Network, Fat Cat Rescue (to name only a few of the 5013c cat organizations), all use and pay for the services of PAAS, and what is spent annually there is not trivial.

I know there is a way to make this work, and Palo Alto (where I used to live) is always keen on community issues and making things work. I suspect you have no idea how many rescue groups perform "animal services" outside of the Animal Control Officers (who are great, BTW). Were it not for the relationship between PAAS and many resuce groups in the area, you'd see a lot more unsterilized animals running around - dogs, cats, etc.

It sounds as if you have your mind made up, and I respectfully disagree with your point of view. It also sounds to me as if you are not in need of any animal-related services.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

Again Carole Miller, I absolutely agree with you. The staff at our animal shelter are wonderful and dedicated. We have used their services over the years on occasion and I have no complaint. Unfortunately, it is a service, albeit sadly that the city can no longer afford. The city is already strapped with annual budget deficits, we cannot fund essential civic needs, and now they're talking about raising taxes to pay for all of this. And you want to improve and expand the facility? I don't think so.

There is a big difference between what we desire, and what is truly essential. Our civic needs are essential. Having our own animal services is a luxury, especially since we can outsource to the Silicon Valley Humane Society. They have a beautiful, new facility that would more than service our needs. Undoubtedly it will be a less expensive option, with less expensive being the operative component.

Posted by litebug
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

I agree with Lyn and Denise. It is shameful that a city with the wealth and resources of Palo Alto won't continue to provide for animals. Notice I say WON'T rather than CAN'T. I lived in P.A. for 38 years and always used PA AS for spay/neuter of the many cats I had throughout the years.

Look at the statistics, people. Palo Alto has a very high income and standard of living. Palo Alto could support a shelter but it has fallen prey to selfish, spoiled "starve the government" whiners who make it sound like they're barely surviving in a depressed area. Right. Look at the luxury cars and Stanford Shopping Center for the Rich. Give me a break! It's the same "destroy government and the commons, privatize everything, I've got mine and screw you" Ayn Rand inspired sociopathic mentality that is destroying this entire country.

Now I live in a smaller city which does not have the ostentatious display of wealth that one finds in P.A. but they manage to support a non-profit no-kill shelter and various efforts to deal with the feral cat population. The shelter is supported by a thrift shop in town, donations and fund-raising events. Adoptions are facilitated through regular fairs at Petco and will soon include the Saturday outdoor market during the summer months. A few cats are kept in a special "Cat Condo" room at the thrift shop to encourage interaction and adoption. Animals are never kept in cages unless they are being transported or for some medical reason, they enjoy communal living. The facility is much poorer than Palo Alto's, it's in a small former farm house and outbuildings out at the edge of town, not as ideally located for access as is the one in Palo Alto. But the dedication of a large group of volunteers, including me, work to keep Homeward Bound Pets going.

The difference in attitude between Palo Alto and where I live now is quite remarkable as is the difference in how well and smoothly the community is run. The sense of community and pulling together is way stronger here than in ultra competitive Palo Alto and things actually get done here and without constant wrangling. Amazing but true! The level of volunteerism and fund raising for many worthy causes is astounding. People actually care about one another, cooperate and work together for the common good. Maybe that's why this town is getting increasing media attention for being such a great place to visit and live. I'm not seeing that about Palo Alto any more.

Too bad Palo Alto lost its soul. I was there and experienced it. It hasn't been that long since I moved. There was more physical ugliness in the buildings, more ugliness in people's actions and priorities. The quality of life here, compared to today's Palo Alto, is so much better that it more than compensates for more rain and less variety in restaurants.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

Like you, I will kindly and respectfully agree to disagree. Despite the wonderful service our employees provide at the city shelter, again, it's a luxury we can no longer afford. Especially since the Silicon Valley Humane Society can provide a very adequate service if we outsource. Palo Alto will still provide animal services. We are not abandoning our pet owners. The city would just be providing a wiser, more affordable option, especially during these difficult financial times. It would be great to continue alot of what Palo Alto has funded, but you know what, we can't afford it. Not when we can't pay our bills and attend to vital civic needs.

Posted by Leonor Delgado
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

News about the possible closure of Palo Alto Animal Services is shocking and devastating--shocking because it is a culmination of the growing lack of concern of the "have's" regarding anyone, two-legged or four-pawed, in a situation inferior to theirs, and devastating because it will translate into higher incidence of abandonment and demise of innocent animals. The animals are now the latest victims of the greed that runs rampant in Silicon Valley and across the country.

People who lose their homes because of corporate greed often abandon their animals. Why? They simply cannot take them to smaller rental units or find themselves forced to move to a room or a garage belonging to friends or relatives where they cannot take their animals. Because of PAAS and the excellent service offered by Animal Control Officers who do their best to work toward saving animals, fewer animals have been abandoned in Palo Alto and environs than in other parts of the Bay Area. Now our community is slated to lose this service.

Why? Why do defenseless animals have to pay the price for corporate greed? Why do corporations and their officers (who rake in untaxed billions) not do their share, contribute some of their massive wealth toward helping those who are less fortunate than they?

Has our society become so crass, so heartless, that we no longer have compassion for anyone or any living being?

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Let's tone down the emotion a bit shall we. The city is not and never has proposed eliminating animal services. What it's considering is simply outsourcing those services to the Silicon Valley Humane Society, a well respected organization who happens to operate out of a beautiful new facility. Many of our neighboring cities have already made this move. I am quite sure the service they provide will be more than adequate. Don't worry Leonor, society has not become more crass and heartless. It's just using a little common sense and choosing a more affordable option.

Posted by Leonor Delgado
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Marrol, Thank you for your input. I do beg to differ and will do so.

HSSV (Humane Society Silicon Valley) is extremely selective in terms of providing service to needy animals. Why do I know this? Because I am involved in animal rescue and have heard of incidents in which they have not taken in abandoned tame cats.

Furthermore, if animals from Palo Alto and other communities currently serviced by PAAS will have to be funneled to HSSV, which chose to allocate considerably less space than was physically feasible to house animals comfortably and still in a state-of-tge-art facility, the overflow animals would be shunted to San Jose Animal Care and Services where they would face a higher likelihood of euthanasia.

This community needs a LOCAL agency that reflects its needs, a place where residents of contiguous communities can surrender animals for adoption and have access to low-cost spay/neuter and immunization options. If anything, the LOCAL agency should expand these services rather than shut its doors.

It's a matter of priorities... is our sliver of Silicon Valley committed to humane policies and practices, or is it committed to the rampant outsourcing mania that has pervaded industries and governments alike, depriving people of their livelihoods and trickling down to their animals?

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Well stated Leonor and I certainly respect your position and unique perspective, but I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree. Certainly on the notion of any considering expanding the current facility. Our city is facing annual budget deficits. We cannot fund our basic and VITAL civic needs without proposing a potential tax increase. This is not the time to expand a service that can be outsourced to a more than adequate service for less cost. This is the time to make cuts and sacrifices, not spend more on having a local animal shelter which is more of a luxury than a need.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Leonor's right re HSSV's rep - sure the shelter looks great, but there are a lot of problems there. Marrow, being motivated by money as you are, & not involved in animal rescue, means you're not aware of many of the animal-related issues at stake. It's not all your tax dollars at work, either. Tireless volunteers provide for the animals that PAAS often takes in &/or alters, rehomes or does trap & release - at no cost to you, in the long run.

Posted by Carole miller
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Clarification of references to "Silicon Valley Humane Society":

SVACA or Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority is a public shelter located in and serving Santa Clara and other contracting communities now including MV. The facility is new and offers many services. They are not "no-kill".

HSSV or Humane Society Silicon Valley is a private, non-profit organization. They moved from their old location near the San Jose airport to a new facility in Milpitas, where they offer many services. My understanding is they are no-kill--qualification, of "adoptable" pets.

Posted by reine
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Several excellent comments have already been written in defense of having a local shelter and spay and neuter clinic here in Palo Alto. I will only add here my personnal experience.

When I came to Barron Park, it was not yet incorporated to the city
of Palo Alto and I was/we were dealing with the Santa Clara Humane society which existed at that time. I can attest the following:

Having to wait an excruciating long time to have an animal control officer pick up an injured animal is not a way to go. Having to drive far to search for a lost cat, is not a way to go. People may not bother to retreive their animal. There is no garantee that a non local shelter would accept the surrendering of a pet that one cannot keep. Have you tried surrendering an animal to Silicon Valley Humane Society in Milpitas? Good luck!
This is a fact: HSSV is beautiful, but the only city HSSV has a contract for services is SUNNYVALE, and this is not the type of business HSSV wanted. The animals found in Milpitas itself are sent way south to the San Jose shelter, HSSV does NOT take them.
As far as SVACA in Santa Clara, the shelter is beautiful but very small and it makes me wonder how much services it can give to the cities it is already serving ( santa clara, campbell, Monte Sereno and soon Mountain View). I am not even sure that the Mountain View residents will have the option to surrender their animals to SVACA.

So there is NO appropriate other shelter in the area.
We need a shelter here and a spay and neuter clinic HERE, of course using a new building would be ideal and should be considered.
And lets thank Bill Warrior and our other local ACOs for helping us now in Palo Alto.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I would think that between the knowledgeable animal welfare folks working in the area, plus all the awesome volunteers who do so much, that a good solution can be found. Or, am I whistling in the wind?

This can't be just a matter of budget, as there are issues re public safety & animal welfare at stake. Those issues can be balanced, as when PHS took over running the Wildlife Rescue org in PA. Obviously, this is more complicated because if involves domesticated animals & the huge feral cat population (not that PAAS does much about that - it's mostly volunteers).

I understand the concerns of the advocates for animals - the local animals being fed into the much larger San Jose system is a scary thought. On the other hand, look at PHS's model - they do a good job & serve the whole county. Frankly, I think that they're ahead of HSSV in terms of leadership even though HSSV had their new shelter open first. I've worked w/HSSV as a volunteer & while they have some great employees, in other ways they were too tentative & wishy washy in their approach, even when PAAS wasn't (although PAAS is so much smaller scale, they could afford to be less wishy washy).

Anyway, I think it comes down to a lot of questions needing to be answered that aren't answered right now AND the budgetary needs balanced w/true animal welfare responsibilities. An animal shelter isn't a "luxury" - it's a necessity, along w/other civic needs & it has a regional component as well.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

But considering the city's annual budget deficits and need to fund other vital infrastructure and public safety needs, having our OWN animal shelter is in my opinion a luxury. Furthermore, the city would not be without animal services. I agree, animal services are a necessity. A necessity that can be adequately served through the regional service. What part of "we can't afford it" do people not understand.

Posted by Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Animal Shelters and Car Dealerships can be built in lots of other places.
But building anything next to the marsh? That is a new slap in the face..... I don't get it????!!!
Now you want to ruin the view and destroy the natural habitat you all worked so hard to save???
Think before you do this Palo Alto because your new plan could actually end up under water when the ocean rises and floods everything into the bay.

Posted by Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

In addition to my comment above..
Palo Alto wouldn't need to build a car dealership in this location if they hadn't closed all the ones they had on El Camino Real.
I feel if you want to buy a new car their are lots of dealerships in the San Jose area to buy from.

Posted by Leonor Delgado
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Marrol, I respect your right to disagree. I believe the fundamental difference in opinion lies in the interpretation of the concept of sense of responsibility. I strongly believe it is time that those who are responsible for the hardships of others, including the hardships of our animal population--those people who can well afford to contribute toward the overall well-being of society--step up to the plate. They are the people who need to "make sacrifices." Responsibility for our animals lies in the local community--why "outsource" that responsibility when there is already an agency in place to care for the animal population? On the contrary, that agency should be bolstered to become more profitable through reforming its mandate and introducing programs that meet the needs of the local population who cares about animals.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I too care about animals Leonor, but our fundamental difference I believe does not involve a sense of personal responsibility, but in our civic and economic responsibility. You and many others are under the impression that there is wealth abound and an endless stream of public dollars flowing. I have news for you. There is not.

We cannot ignore the fact that the city is facing unprecedented financial difficulties and annual budget deficits. These aren't my words, but those of our city leaders and elected officials. The city has numerous vital and essential civic needs in the area of our basic infrastructure and public safety. In most people's opinion those are the top two civic priorities. Taking care of our animal population is also important, I agree, but it most definitely falls behind these other critical priorities.

The city has to come up with a way to pay for these essential needs, and I resent enduring another tax increase in order to fund these civic projects that should have already been paid for and completed. With that said, considering the current financial state the city is in, it is time we look at making cuts and sacrifices wherever possible. When times are tough, something has to give, and that should start with lesser priorities and looking at outsourcing certain services as a cost saving measure. It is certainly not the time to undoubtedly spend millions of public dollars we don't have to expand and upgrade a local animal shelter, not when a very adequate regional service is available at a lower cost. Again, we're not eliminating animal services to our pets, residents, and wildlife. We're simply using some common sense and realizing that the city can no longer afford it's own shelter. Other neighboring cities have made the move and so should we.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

The problem w/this type of outsourcing is that many lives are literally at stake & I wonder if PA leadership is capable of making the right decisions, balancing that reality along w/the budget? The infamous Palo Alto Process is a headache for many & in this case, it can also be a heartache. The different sides to this issue being raised are valuable, not just to PA residents, but to many of us volunteers who do more than our share in animal rescue - & it's not because we're the 1%.

Posted by lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

So what do we need more, a vital city service or a new car. Thanks again to Keene and Klein circus in their effort to reduce city services and raise taxes for reduced services. With current census statistics showing 53% of Palo Alto residents as renters, it's no wonder that community values are easily dismissed.

Posted by Leonor Delgado
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thank you, Hmmm, for your eloquent response, and for underscoring the work of volunteers who have shouldered the lion's share of the care of homeless and abandoned animals. Yes, animals' lives are at stake, and we should all keep that in mind. I firmly believe we need to build on the infrastructure that is already in place and improve it to make it more profitable, not only in terms of $$$,$$$,$$$, but also in terms of saving lives and enriching our community.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm

And we're going to build on the infrastructure that is already in place with what money Leonor? The city does not have the funds to pay for vital infrastructure and public safety needs as it is. Their solution appears to be yet another tax increase. Sorry, but priorities first.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Leonor - I think a money-making operation that also saved animal lives would be great. PHs does it to a degree. I've been working in animal rescue my whole life, have worked at a shelter & cofounded a rescue group that I no longer have affiliation with. I know that $$ is always an issue - unless one has an active, influential & wealthy board.

Heck, what about youth getting involved by doing car wash fundraisers? That's a grass roots, easy thing to do. Attracting wealthy donors to assist in maintain & improve services. Offering dog training, etc. But of course, what about improvements to the building?

I recall meeting, years ago, one of the people responsible for PA's spay/neuter clinic - she was a wonderful woman. I have taken many, many street dogs & cats there for alteration because w/a work schedule, it's always been esaier to get to than PHS. My parents, before me, also used PAAS for alteration of rescues - many found in PA.

If the PAAS store carried our brand of dog food, we'd probably buy it there. My interactions w/PAAS ACOs have always been positive interactions & I've found them trustworthy, deeply caring individuals.

One of the big problems is that people not into animals often refuse to acknowledge that they have any responsibility toward them, & then those of us who love them do more than our share. While this is true w/many interests, wild & domesticated animals have incredibly high numbers but are so often ignored, even though we're surrounded by them.

If PAAS gets outsourced, can't their be an upside? That's whay I'm wondering.

Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Tish --

Thanks for replying.

From subsequent comments, it seems that plenty of Palo Altans are enlightened about the need for a shelter within the city.


And I concur that to call it a "view" out at the baylands is a bit of a stretch.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Graihwing/William Warrior:

Thank you so much for your love of animals, your cheer with your work, and your patience with people here online who seem to think that saving money is the only way to go. I wish they, like you, would put the animals first!

Where we need to save money in this city is with consultants' fees (the city hires consultants almost to tell them how to blow their noses), with public art that so very few people seem to like (and have no word in choosing, with lavish remodels of streets and parks that go over the top . . .

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

@ Marrol: I agree that the city is in a financial mess. But it's because it keeps financing renovations of things that ain't broke, and doing things more fancily than is necessary because it has such an inflated sense of its ranking on this planet.

It could free up funds for keeping its own animal services TOMORROW by (1) canceling its compulsion to mess around with California Avenue's traffic flow; (2) canceling its plans to remodel the golf course; (3) canceling its bike bridge project; (4) dispensing with the high-end SF graphic arts company that produces all those paper communications with our utilities bills; (5) not buying the old Palo Alto P.O. but firmly regulating what a well-off buyer can do with it . . . The list goes on and on . . .

Like Nora, Denise, litebug, Carol Miller, Leonor and others who've written eloquently online in support of animal services remaining in Palo Alto, I strongly believe that we have a moral duty to do the best for animals here, close to their homes. They should not have to be driven miles and miles to a center elsewhere, which will be overburdened by catering to a big number of communities.

It is time for Palo Altans to stop taking their problems elsewhere, but to be responsible for solving them ethically here on their own territory. I said that about garbage disposal and composting, and I say it the more loudly about animals.

There are many ways of financing what should be one of this city's enlightened and civilized priorities, our own animal services--go without the glitzy projects. Any good parent teaches his/her own children that principle!

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm

jardina - may I suggest that you & others organize, if you think it's a good idea, in order to put forth your observations & ideas? It was necessary for locals to get involved in the new building for PHS in Burlingame. Volunteers & animal lovers from all over the county & beyond weighed in & it made a real difference. I don't mean to make work for you! I just wanted to offer up something that I know made a vital difference, with excellent results that are saving many animals.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I agree with the cuts and reductions you have cited Jardins. Once our vital and essential public safety and infrastructure obligations are fulfilled, I would have no problem exploring the possibility of continuing to fund our local animal shelter. However, I believe it's important to fund those priorities first. If every possible non-essential cut has been made, and the funds are not there (which I suspect will be the case), then we have to look at outsourcing animal services. It's all a matter of setting some financial priorities and seeing it through. Priorities first. First things first.

Posted by Sharon Parmenter
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm

PAAS provides all kinds of animal related services to the mid-peninsula region: In addition to housing stray animals, helping lost animals and their people reunite, adopting all kinds of animals into loving homes, providing low-cost spay/neuter, vaccinations, and licensing to local pets they also go the extra mile for the animals that might not otherwise get a chance.

A few months ago I took custody of a tiny injured kitten named Miss Moffet. She was named by Animal Control Officer William Warrior after he collected her from the emergency hospital where she had been delivered after being hit by a car. She required more extensive surgery than could be provided at PAAS. Instead of euthanizing her, they transferred her to my rescue who arranged for the needed surgery. Today she a happy, healthy kitty who enjoys her second chance at life.

About the same time, two beautiful middle-aged kitty sisters were surrendered to the shelter. They tested positive for FIV which is generally a death sentence at a municipal shelter. But, Sandi Stadler, the Director of PAAS, reached out to the local rescue community and held on until a foster home was located. These two girls are also happy, enjoying their second chance at life (and still up for adoption!)

A few years ago Animal Control Officer Jeannette Washington reached out for help in placing an over-sized, rambunctious, poorly trained German Shepherd dog. His behavior wasn't dangerous, but it was unpredictable. That, and his size, made him a poor adoption prospect. We made some inquires and this big dog with a dim future was transferred to a dog rescue organization and ended up the beloved pet of a dog trainer!

In each of these cases it would have been simple and quick to euthanize. But, in each case PAAS employees went the extra mile to give the animals a chance. Isn't this the type of organization that we want to keep in our community?

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Hmmm: I entirely agree with your idea of the need to organize, and I'm genuinely very grateful for your info re what it took to get PHS its new building.

Marrol: I do agree with the need for a realistically-priced public safety program and for the reasonable repair of infrastructure. But continuing to provide care for animals in the mid-Peninsula is important, as well.

As Diana Diamond wrote in a local newspaper some time ago, the entire city budget needs to be reviewed, to down, item by item, and priorities have to be discussed a whole lot, with input from many more people than is now the case.

Sharon: your three case-studies make the point perfectly--that when an animal services center is local, there is much more of a chance that its employees will go the extra mile in carrying out their work. It's totally the kind of organization we want to keep in this community, and I wish that more people would understand and appreciate that!

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

jardins - the PHS issue was difficult in that there was a dedicated group that wanted to stop construction of the new site. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] PHS's leader has gravitas & knows how to get things done AND they're not under the auspices of the PD.

I have a friend, a retired police chief of a major Calif city who had animal control under him for awhile. He told me it was like, "WTH! I'm allergic to dogs & cats, how can I even pretend to know how to run the place." It's not been under the cops ever since, thankfully. Not to say police-run animal services are all bad & it makes sense for a city of PA's size. However...

In this current economy, smart thinking is needed. PA is fulla smartypants folks who may be able to lend expertise - & $$ - in addition to all of you smart folks who know animal stuff. I see grass roots organizing as a way to be taken seriously, as well as getting as much legal & innovative input from other local animal lovers. Maybe a small, private shelter is the way to go - who knows?

I recall how scared us tenants felt when we had the evil Page Mill Properties as landlords. Thanks to organizing & some super smart people who donated a lot of time (I mean, a lot - & most outsiders had no clue that there were gasp! - PhDs who live in EPA, youth who know how to organize, disabled people w/brains who served on boards, African American working class women who started nonprofits with their own money - for example), we were able to get some traction. The falling apart economy actually helped us. In economic strife there may be opportunity, but it calls for innovation - we now have a much improved rent stabilization ordinance & landlords are also getting support that they didn't used to have. Maybe you can have a better animal services dept. as a result.

I don't have a solution, but I've been part of larger solutions that have made a difference for thousands of animals & people. When I was one of the cofounders of an animal rescue group, it was a lot of work, some of it astoundingly heartbreaking, and we worked in the context of much societal prejudice. We saved the lives of many animals, educated a lot of people & became more educated ourselves along the way. It's not just an incredible feeling, it's humbling.

There are opportunies here for collaboration w/an excellent outcome- but the City has to be open to it. If any on the Council are animal lovers, they should be more open to innovation that isn't expensive. Look at how remarkably well animals adapt - & humans are, after all, animals.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hmmm: many thanks for your helpful and thought-provoking comments. Bravo for your work with/for animals, and dealing with Page Mill Properties! You're right that there's going to be a lot of work involved keeping an animal services center open here, but it fully merits that.

Where to start is a good question--I guess get together with people willing to address the city council collectively and individually, then discuss $$ with the city manager's office, talk with PAHS and with animal services/organizations elsewhere (such as PHS), get questionnaires out for P.A. residents, petitions . . .

A process, and plenty educative, I imagine!

Posted by reine
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:22 am

I suggest that Hmmm and other people who would like to help the shelter and contribute ideas please leave their name and contact information with the Palo Alto Humane Society at 650 424-1901. PAHS is no longer managing the Palo Alto ***shelter*** but it has vested interest in keeping the shelter spay and neuter clinic, since PAHS is the major contributor of vouchers for spay and neuter. I am sure PAHS could benefit from ideas about organizing support.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

reine: many thanks for that suggestion, which I shall follow up on.

Out of interest, has PAHS yet spoken up about the issue of closing PAAS?

Posted by city worker
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

First I would like to thank everyone for there comments about this issue. I would like to point out a few facts:
SVACA does NOT except owner surrenders, so if you can no longer keep your animal you will have to make an appointment with the Humane Society of Silicon Valley and IF they find your animal suitable for them you will be charged $150. PAAS currently excepts ALL surrendered animals from the 4 city's without question and free of charge.
Second, PAAS's low cost spay and neuter clinic takes in over 3000 animals annually.
Third, City Manager Keane has NEVER stepped foot on PAAS property in his three years!!
Fourth, losing this service will cost the city more in the long run because of more animals will become stray( due to animals being dumped, no LOCAL spay and neuter clinic), more complaints from the PA citizens, call loads increase, lower response time from SVACA and PAPD will have to pick up the slack and the citizens will be paying $50-100/hr instead of $26/hr for the service.

I have much more to add but ponder that for a momment

Posted by Leonor Delgado
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Jardins, and everyone who wants to see PAAS continue as an important institution in Palo Alto and the Peninsula:

Please go to the PAHS (Palo Alto Humane Society) Web site to see the response to the possible closing of Palo Alto Animal Services. PAHS is urging people to protest the closing by contacting the Mayor and the City Council:

Posted by Tom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2012 at 7:23 am

This novel is still going on:) This is what I think. City does not care about the shelter and the shelter has no leadership at all. Just like the dogs in the kennels the manager from this shelter only barks.

Posted by Maggy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

Want to save money, why don't instead full-time employees make some of the employees part-time only. The city does not need five animal control officers full- time. Two full-time officers would do the job and keep the others officers part-time or hourly only. I went to shelter last weekend and there were five people working in there and no a single customer inside. And by the time I left there were three animal control officers just talking and having fun. I love animals but I am also a tax payer.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

Folks my dad used to take me to this shelter back in the 80's and now I take my kids to the shelter, but I have to agree with Ms. Stadler the facility is falling a part. It will not help to keep it running if the city does not build a new facility or do a major change in the old one. Ms. stadler said that Mountain View left PAAS, because of the facility and move on to SVACA. I have been at SVACA and i have to say it was a good move to Mountain View. Now, if the city worries about budge they could ask shelter's employees to become part-time or hire part-time employees only. By the way I read that "Officer Warrior" still on duty. Man you are the superman. I met Warrior and Officer Law when I was 12 years old. :)

Posted by Ronie
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

I like the shelter and I feel bad for its situation. I have been taking my dogs to PAAS for many years now, but I have to say that nothing changes in this shelter. The building is old, people can't see it even if they walk in front of it, the kennels are in very bad shape, there are some very old bird and rabbits cages around. I was there few months ago to vacc my dogs and it was raining day. People had to stand outside in the rain, cause inside was full of people already. I support the shelter, but to keep it running in the conditions that it is now from me woiuld a NO, NO.

Posted by Megan
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

Too many people working in this shelter. There is not need for the number of employees working in this shelter. About 15 employees! How do I know it? My best friend volunteers at PAAS. My vote is to keep it running, get it fixed or move it to a new facility, but reduce the number of employees or reduce the work hours. Part-time or hourly would be a great idea.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:32 am

If they close PAAS, Palo Alto's will pay Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) to take over our animal service needs. (At their shelter on Thomas Rd., north-east of Montague Expwy.) The people there run a nice facility. One drawback: They do NOT accept owner-surrendered animals. Palo Alto accepts all owner-surrendered animals. Without PAAS, you have two choices.

[1] Go to HSSV in Milpitas where they'll accept only animals they consider "adoptable" and where they'll charge you for the surrender. So your new landlord has outlawed pets, and you want to surrender your beloved Siamese cat.... Not allowed at SVACA. Instead you must drive to Milpitas and let them inspect your cat. Hmmm... Too old? Not cuddly with strangers? Thus not easily adoptable? Too bad. Or suppose your cat is a charmer, young, beautiful, playful, friendly to all. HSSV says yes, and asks for $100 as a fee for the surrender.
[2] Drive to a neighborhood far from your home and turn your cat loose. He'll probably be fine.

Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

Close the damn airport and build a modern, beautiful animal shelter on part of that land.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:46 am

What's all this I hear about businesses paying taxes?

Wal-Mart doesn't. You pay them a sales tax, and they pocket the money. They make deals for long-term, low-cost leases for land, and they don't pay property taxes. Or if they pay, it's at seriously reduced rates with payments stretched out over time. Don't believe me? Read "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston. And Wal-Mart is only one example.

Do you see any major increase in the tax base for East Palo Alto now that they've got Home Depot, Ikea, et al? But you're right, they do have a number of attractive roadside billboards to entertain drivers stalled in traffic.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

All who support keeping Animal Services in Palo Alto (current location or another one) PLEASE go to the Palo Alto Humane Society's website:

They're organizing opposition to the proposal to shut down Animal Services, and they provide a link for emailing the Mayor and the rest of the City Council. It's very important to do this; those officials don't necessarily read our online postings in this forum.

If phoning the P.A. Humane Society is more convenient for you, their number is 650-424-1901.

It's important to get our voices heard by the decision-makers from as many supporters of PAAS as possible

Posted by Jones
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Come on, I am 100% sure that the City has already made their decision regarding this shelter. The city council members are just giving you guys some hope so that They will not look bad in the eyes of citizens. SVACA will be in Mountain View soon! there will be jobs, especially for Animal Control Officers. It is time too move fast:)

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Jones: don't you think that's a bit cynical? How about the civic responsibility to have a dialog with elected officials of one's community?

In a few years, Mountain View might well find that the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA, in Santa Clara)is demanding an increase in fees for its services, such as animal control officers. All the more likely if Palo Alto Animal Services get closed down, and SVACA has a monopoly situation!

Posted by Jones
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Jardins, We all know that from now on is down hill to PAAS. PAAS has been great but the time has come to its end. I spoke with one of the Animal Control Officers from PAAS and the officer said it is sad that this is happening and the officer also said there had been many rumors in the past but this time it is for real.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Jones: I am surprised (i.e. very doubtful) that the animal control officer knows (1) the mind of the assistant city manager who proposed the closing of PAAS, and (2) the minds of each and all of the city council members, and (3) the minds of the committee they sent this entire matter to.

It seems very likely that you (and the ACO you say you spoke to) are rumor-mongering, not stating proven facts.

Supporters of the Palo Alto Animal Services are not going to be silenced by rumors like those. This is a time for open communication and dialogue.

Posted by nac
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2012 at 9:43 am

William has been great dealing with lost dogs. thank you!!

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Why has Assistant City Manager Pam Antil never visited the animal shelter (PAAS)? Why has the City Manager, James Keene, never visited PAAS? Ms. Antil expresses understanding for people who are "emotional" about losing PAAS, but it sounds a bit patronizing. How long has she been Assistant City Manager? Did she recently arrive and decide her first project would be to negotiate with Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority to take on Palo Alto's animals? What an eager beaver, eh? What is the rush?

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Jardins, I agree. I don't believe the fight is over.

I don't see how the City Manager expects to remove PAAS and replace it with a car store without significant conflict over laws protecting the Baylands and the endangered species there (California Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse).

When the city proposed building the animal shelter at its present site --40 years ago-- local environmentalists only accepted the construction on the understanding that the shelter would leave a small footprint with no detrimental impact on the Baylands. People like Emily Renzel and Enid Pearson won't sit idly by for an auto showroom to fill the void. And I repeat: What is the RUSH?

Posted by rescuer
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Yes, Palo Alto Animal Services(PAAS)needs to be self-supporting. So let's work together to make it happen. Once gone, the essential services they provide will be lost forever. And our animals will suffer.

We can save PAAS while improving it, reducing costs, increasing income, paying for better facilities with private sector funding. I could see it self-supporting, even generating a profit, quite easily. For instance, we dont need 4 full time office employees. Two could handle it, with volunteers to assist. With the loss of Mountain View, perhaps one or two animal control officers would like to take retirement or apply to SVACA?

On the income side, the low cost spay/neuter clinic offers a wonderful service with excellent staff, but intake is way below demand. Rescue groups in the area routinely drive to Fremont and Milpitas and San Mateo for spay/neuter surgeries because PAAS does not accomodate their needs. Most of these surgeries are paid for not by taxpayers but by Palo Alto Humane Society, a non-profit with no government support. Income could further be increased if the clinic could perform some routine medical procedures such as lower cost dentals. The tiny gift shop could be expanded, volunteer-staffed.

As to future facility improvements, how about a Facebook dog wing? A Hewlett-Packard office? A community-small-donations cat wing?

Palo Alto residents are not going to be happy if pet owners who cannot keep their animals are forced to dump them in our streets. This is the likely outcome of losing PAAS. Outsourcing to Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (IF they can take on Palo Alto at all) makes no provision for surrenders. Their website states: "At this time, we are not able to accept owned animals. If you can no longer keep your animal, please contact the Humane Society Silicon Valley." HSSV, in order to maintain its "no kill" status, only accepts highly adoptable animals. If the dog or cat you cannot keep is over 3 years old, or not in perfect health, or not the most glamorous, it is likely to be rejected. Feral dog packs anyone?

Let's improve our shelter, cut costs, increase income. It can be done! Go to the website of Palo Alto Humane Society for how to make your voice heard.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Great suggestions rescuer. Thanks for reminding us that we can't just sit back and expect the cost/income to change.

Another item that raises money for PAAS is dog licensing. You can buy a 1-year license for $15 or a 3-year license for $32. The 3-year license makes the best sense because you can coordinate renewal with the 3-year scheduled rabies booster.

Here's the rub. Only about 5,000 Palo Alto residents have licenses for their dogs. PAAS figures that's about 15% of the actual dog population in Palo Alto.

If we could get another 20,000 dogs (theoretically about 75% by my quick math) licensed at the $32 rate (thus averaging almost $11/year), that could bring in another $275,000 per year. Apologies in advance if I've screwed up the math; but you get the idea? Or simplify it to 25000 dogs at $15/year and we add $375,000 to the earned income. Mountain View pays $475,00, which theoretically leaves us only $100,000 in the hole compared to today.

Don't you love the way I say "only $100,000"?

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm

The time has come for Palo Alto to outsource its animal services. The Silicon Valley Humane Society has an excellent reputation and are operating out of a new facility. Considering the few times that a pet owner in Palo Alto would have to make the relatively short trip south would be well worth the cost savings. We would no longer be paying the salaries and benefits, and the land could be used for something more productive. Several other cities have made the wise move and so should we. The animal services division has long complained that the city has inadequately funded their operation and failed to upgrade and remodel their facility. Throughout that entire time I heard few if any rallying cries to raise money or efforts to make the facility more productive. Emotions are fueling the current outcry, but I see it as being very temporary. The past history of animal service support is the best indicator of what it's going to be like in the future. It's just the way these things usually play out.

Again, no one is calling for an end to the city investing and providing animal services. It's just the smart thing to outsource the service, especially when a perfectly adequate operation is available. The city is facing unprecedented financial challenges. We are coping with severe budget deficits year after year. Vital and very essential public safety and infrastructure needs continue to go unfunded. I'm sorry, but animal services take a back seat to these priority needs. We all need to consider the greater good, take the emotion out of this, and use a little common sense here.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2012 at 12:17 am

Another idea to save the shelter: Contract with Menlo Park to provide their animal services. Right now they have to go to Peninsula Humane Society, about 18 miles north at Coyote Point/Airport Boulevard. PHS has a nice facility, but PAAS is only about 5 miles from Menlo. Saves gas and the hassle of driving in freeway traffic.

Right now there's some red tape that prevents Menlo Park (in San Mateo County) from affiliation with Palo Alto's shelter (in Santa Clara County). Nevertheless, if Menlo Park pet fanciers approved the change, we'd get some kind of payment from them. It wouldn't replace more densely populated Mtn. View's annual contribution, but it would help.

Marrol, you sound a lot like Asst. City Manager Pam Antil. Same reference to "take the emotion out of it," patronizing the people who support PAAS as mindless pet-huggers? Here's some news: I think I'm using common sense. PAAS's cost to the City of $700,000 per year did not cripple Palo Alto's budget. And outsourcing our animal services is not going to put us back in the black.

Posted by Bill H
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

In basic dollars and cents (sense), think about what LOSING the shelter means to the covered areas:
• HSSV has no surrender program. What will become of your 7-year-old dog or cat if you have to leave the country, etc.? It will go to San Jose Animal Care and Control and likely be euthanized.
• Stray/dangerous animals currently with Palo Alto. How long will it take to dispatch an ACO to a situation from San Jose? Who will do the follow-up in dangerous dog/any animal hearings?
• Animals currently released to rescue (non-profits) by the shelter will be euthanized, no questions asked.

Think about what there is to lose, versus what a frikkin' car dealership can gain in tax $$, besides which, if you look 10 years out, people are moving AWAY from cars for crying out loud.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2012 at 9:33 am

Marrol, you keep referring to "the Silicon Valley Humane Society." There is no entity with that name in our neighborhood.

There is Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA), a Joint Powers Agency, located in a refurbished warehouse on Thomas Road, south-east of Montague Expressway, 10 or 11 miles down 101 from Midtown Palo Alto. The refurbished working shelter is an attractive facility, serving Santa Clara, Campbell, Monte Sereno, and soon to be joined by Mtn. View (and Sunnyvale?). This is the place the Palo Alto City Manager and Asst. City Manager recommend for "outsourcing" Palo Alto's animal services. I'm wondering whether SVACA might need to refurbish additional, unused warehouse space -- to accommodate new arrivals from Mtn. View, etc?

There is Humane Society of Silicon Valley (HSSV), a 501(c)3 independent non-profit with live web cams and an operation that's rated "green." Located in Milpitas, this is the facility that's newly constructed, and it is pretty impressive. Check out the web cam at Web Link

Interesting that the web sites for both SVACA and HSSV have big, colorful DONATE buttons on their web pages. Now there's an idea....

Posted by sparty
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

"Rescue groups in the area routinely drive to Fremont and Milpitas and San Mateo for spay/neuter surgeries because PAAS does not accomodate their needs."

Thats funny, I can name many many many many dogs from rescues who use the same vet, Dr B, that PAAS uses...right here in this area....not Milpitas or San Mateo.

In fact one of these rescues was right there in downtown Palo Alto this weekend.

Posted by Only Facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

Rescuer and Sparty are both right... Most cat rescuers DON'T use PAAS Spay/Neuter Clinic ... Most local dog rescuers do! There is a reason for this!

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Another point to consider for the "emotional" animal lovers: how much $$$ there is in the pet industry, minus buying pets. Vet care, pet sitters, food, accessories, treats - it's a huge industry & therefore, huge lobbying potential to reshape PAAS into something that isn't such a money loser.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

A question if I may Hmmm. Why hasn't this lobby been more active over the past several years when the management at PAAS has needed the help? Like I said, the past experience and practice will usually be consistent with what happens in the future. Once this dies down, and the service has been outsourced, people will be more appreciative that the City of Palo Alto is at least one step closer to balancing their budget. The greater good is the bottom line. Besides, the alternative programs I'm quite sure will be more than adequate. For the number of times that Palo Alto citizens have to venture south to one of the new facilities, which will be what, 2-3 times a year at the most on average, is not to much to ask for the sake of over fiscal responsibility.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Hmmm, a good point. In fact, when I go to the web sites for SVACA and HSSV, I see that they have actual "sponsors" advertising on their space. Along with the punchy DONATE buttons. Why couldn't PAAS get some similar support?

One thing that may stand in the way is the fact that Palo Alto decided somewhere back in our history to put the animal shelter under the aegis of the Police Department. (You know, "Animal Cops Palo Alto"?) I've got nothing negative to say about PA Police; my general impression is they do a really good job. Nevertheless, I'd like to see a discussion about whether it would be smarter for PAAS to be placed under the control of another group. Parks & Recreation? Or just be a separate entity? I don't know what the possibilities are.

The PAAS web site should be bright and colorful and easy to call up -- like the SVACA and HSSV web pages. Instead, we're in a poky little corner of the City's web site. Not easy to reach, and not very exciting once you get there. The PAAS Facebook page is more interesting, along with our presence on YouTube.

Anyway, Hmmm (and others), I agree that we haven't examined or discussed all the options that might make PAAS a break-even operation. WHY are the City Manager and Asst. City Manager in such a hurry to get rid of PAAS? What's the rush?

Posted by Tadeu
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2012 at 9:32 am

I just moved to Palo Alto few months ago and I don't know what is going on, but I had to get my dog vacc and a friend told me about PAAS. He told the location. I drove for at least 30 minutes around before I found it. " PAAS is more hidden than Bin Ladden was". Also it was on Wed the vacc day. Price was great, Location terrible, why it is so hidden from the public? And the worst thing was to have to stand outside in the rain, because the shelter has no waiting area inside to accommodete customers while waiting to be call. The last thing I have to say is about the customer service, overall not bad, but there was one female employee who should improve her customer or social skills. I did not get her name. I wish I had, because I really want to make a complaint to the City regarding this employee. If anyone could tell me her name I would be very appreciated. She is an old lady between 60/70 years of age, short hair, eye glasses and she was limping a little. She was very rude towards me and others custumers.

Posted by Megan
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I will vote to keep PAAS running, but changes have to be made. Especially regarding on Wed vacc day, there should be a place to customers could wait until be call. Like a waiting area would not be a bad idea. Also they could work on the customer service, there has been so many complaints regarding the some lady in there. I guess is the same lady always.

Posted by Manuele
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

City has to understand we need our own Shelter and PAAS is what we got. I think a few changes here and there things will be much better. I agreed with Megan and Tadeu more space and regarding this lady, I think the manager should do something about it. Because PAAS needs our support ,but wil not get if this lady keeps disrespecting customers. I don't know her name but I have an idea who she is.

Posted by Only Facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Manuele, Megan and Tadeu... YOU ARE ALL RIGHT!!!

Posted by Unk
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Only facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

Time to revive an oldie but goody thread:

"Why I have never adopted a cat from the PA Pound aka: The Kitten N*zi"

Web Link

Posted by cat and dog owner
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:34 am

I am a few days late coming to this thread but here goes:

Michele of College Terrace and Aquamarine of Stanford, SO WHAT if some of the PAAS employees are breeders (fanciers is the more appropriate word) of AKC or UKC purebred dogs? Are you with PETA or other Animal RIGHTS groups? (as opposed to animal WELFARE) Are you not aware that responsible dog breeders take back what they have bred if the placement doesn't work out? This refers to ANY TIME in the animal's life. It's mortifying to a responsible breeder if one of theirs ends up in a shelter, even if it is in violation of the puppy contract that buyers agree to. Quite a few breeders will take in mixed breed rescues as well. Almost ALL national breed clubs have a rescue that animal shelters can call to take on surrendered purebred, and even in some instances, cross breeds. The same is true for purebred cats. Are you aware of how this relieves

Yes, the PAAS facility is outdated and well-hidden and needs a place for the long lines waiting for the vax clinic. I've used the VIP clinics at Pet Food Express and Pet Club as more convenient, same cost. But PAAS neutered my dog and this is an incredibly important service to the greater community, including Mountain View and EPA. Go price spay or neuter at any vet office and see the difference.
There may be a reason that it is hidden--the general public "dumping" animals in the area? There is no anonymous night drop box like some of the large public shelters.

Get PAAS out from under the PAPD. Make them a stand alone agency.
Arrange for classes in customer relations for the crabby employee or a "buy out." But is she really so different from some of the other city agency employees who deal with the public and scorn the citizens of PA because they don't LIVE HERE and we ask that they actually do their jobs?

I have had encounters with the ACOs and have found them to be reasonable and even err on the side of reason.

I can think of some ways to energize the shelter operations, but an updated LOCAL facility is essential.

Lastly, is anyone aware that ALL of the employees of PAAS are also certified disaster assistance workers who would see to animal welfare as well as human assistance in the event of a mass emergency (like Katrina)? Losing that pool of ability would truly be a loss.

I'll be visiting the PAHS website for further action.

Posted by tadeu
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Well cat and dog owner! liked I said, I new in Palo Alto and my first time at PAAS was not good at all. I stood outside in the rain for the vacc day and when I got inside I was disrespected by one of PAAS' employees. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] How could I support PAAS if I did not get the respect that I deserve.

Posted by hissgrowl
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

to be sung to the tune of "Just You Wait 'Enry 'Iggins" with apologies to Lerner and Loewe:

Just you wait City Council, just you wait;
You'll be sorry but your pleas will be too late.
If you terminate our shelter,
Make our pets go helter skelter.
Just you wait City Council, just you wait.

Just you wait City Countil, just you wait;
You'll be sorry but your tears will be too late.
If you're cruel, we'll remember;
You'll be pink-slipped in November.
Just you wait City Council, just you wait.

add your own verses........

Posted by barking mad
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

why have the comments on this important issue devolved into personal attacks? on connie, on breeders, on some owners?

...what animal services provides to this and surrounding communities is incredibly important whether or not you like or dislike some of the personalities that work/volunteer there. from wildlife rescue to animal hoarders; from low cost spay/neuter services, micro chips and vaccines to picking up strays and road kill; to taking in SURRENDERED animals at both truck and counter (something silicon valley doesn't do)...palo alto animal services keeps strays off our streets and keeps our own pets healthy and safe for a fraction of the cost of local vets. and THAT is only a fraction of what we stand to lose.

i am not just blowing smoke, i had my two dogs "fixed" at the spay/neuter clinic. in part because of the low cost, but also because that is what they is their specialty. the younger of the two was done just a few weeks ago - he was snipped, chipped and vaccinated for $160.00. his sister was snipped and chipped a year and a half ago.

and for what? a CAR DEALERSHIP?!? a car dealership?! perhaps THE WORST "industry" to be looking at in these economic times...heck there are FOUR empty dealerships on el camino in menlo park FOUR that have sat empty for at least a decade. palo alto has had its share of empty dealerships, too. for years the volvo dealership at el camino and arastradero sat empty as did the reggie jackson dealership and i know there were others...i mention this not because i think honda should go to menlo park but because of the state of car dealerships in general...

and what of the environmental impact of a car dealership?

no. we can't let happen without a fight. shuttering 100+ years of animal welfare services in palo alto is a BAD idea and i, for one, am barking mad.

Posted by Michele
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

cat and dog owner: I have no issue with responsible breeders; I have a problem with four working in an animal shelter that espouses spay and neuter, and that the four people comprise 33.3% of the overall work force. I have a problem with them having two incomes - one of selling dogs, one with a pension I am helping to pay for. I have owned a pedigree dog, a basset hound, and also like mixes. To me, 33% of the staff being breeders is a very heavy percentage in an animal shelter. One, maybe two, ok, but 33% of the work force? Something is wrong there in my opinion, which I am entitled to.

Posted by Tadeu
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

Guys the more I read regarding this shelter I feel that this shelter is a mess. Bad location, disrespectful employee, bad management , now 33% of the staff being breeders. Why some people want to keep it running. It is a mess!

Posted by Only facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2012 at 9:16 am

Tadeu, nobody cares about customers service at the shelter. As you can see the city took off my comments regarding writing a complaint letter about Connie. As many people already said she is disrespectful, rude and she is no good for the future of PAAS, but nothing will change regarding this issue. Like you said it is a mess. If it comes to a vote I will encourage people to vote to close PAAS. For one reason only they don't listen what US customers want and need.

Posted by cat and dog owner
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm

"Posted by Michele,

cat and dog owner: I have no issue with responsible breeders; I have a problem with four working in an animal shelter that espouses spay and neuter, and that the four people comprise 33.3% of the overall work force. I have a problem with them having two incomes - one of selling dogs, one with a pension I am helping to pay for. I have owned a pedigree dog, a basset hound, and also like mixes. To me, 33% of the staff being breeders is a very heavy percentage in an animal shelter. One, maybe two, ok, but 33% of the work force? Something is wrong there in my opinion, which I am entitled to."

Yes Michele, you are entitled to your opinion. NOBODY except very large scale breeders and puppy mills makes money from breeding dogs. NOBODY. Responsible breeders barely cover their costs--not just the vet bills and health screenings of breeding stock, but the titles, competition, and travel to such that makes their dogs and cats more DESIRABLE as breeding stock. Breeders who are small scale (1-2 litters a year, tops) who compete in either performance or conformation, and maintain a waiting list for their future puppies or kittens are not the problem and they are the first to insist on spay and neuter contracts for any animal that will not be shown and will be a household companion or service animal first and foremost. Do your research. As for having 4 of them on the staff, what kind of people do you think are drawn to employment involving animals? People who DON'T like them and don't center their lives around them?

Posted by Bill H
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

Sounds like what we're hearing is that the shelter needs a facelift, people are angry about the people working in the shelter, not the shelter or animals themselves, and Dave Price's article thinks the employees are overpaid. Sure there must be a solution somewhere between black and white.
• Evaluate the current personnel by allowing the public to submit their experiences to the city.
• Evaluate the salaries and reduce them to private-sector or other non-profit organization salaries.
• Privatize the shelter to become a non-profit. (And in so doing, it's likely the current personnel will leave.)
• Find a veterinarian who is willing to make less than 128K (as written in the Dave Price article) and work a full day.
• Open programs that generate revenue.
• Allow community participation and activity rather than running an imperialistic domain within the shelter (as evidenced by making people "stand in the rain" during the vaccination clinic.

This is not rocket science. This seems personal, between the police department and the shelter and the city wanting more money. Why are the animals not being considered? This is sheer lunacy IMO.

Posted by PA non-profit cat rescue
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

Our group has used PAAS for spay/neuter of our cats for years. We also have a great relationship with the shelter and are on the short list of rescue groups they call for help with pre-weans, under-weight kittens or cats that do not thrive in a shelter environment. Don't believe rescue groups do not use this shelter--we do and to lose this service will be a huge loss for us but even more for the poor cats/kittens who not be saved.

Posted by Tadeu
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

It is the first time I ever heard of a VETERINARIAN WHO MAKES $128 K and not even working full time. Now, to all those who are posting here and on face book saying "WE have to save our shelter, We love PAAS , PAAS Veterinarian is so wonderful" What can you people say about this ridiculous information. Why don't you people stop at PAAS ask the manager for an explanation! I bet the manager will not talk to anybody regarding it, why because she knows and don't care. Why don't you people stop at PAAS and ask the manager why she allowed Connie to be so rude and disrespectful to customers! Come on people lets put the cards on the table and look at both sides. The city has think, think,think, really deeply before make a decision about keeping PAAS running.

Posted by Jones
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm

To Bill H, Bill I agreed with you, but I believe that all this complainings regarding bad customer service , people have to stand outside in the rain for vacc day or this employee been disrespectful to customers have been around for years now. The question here is! Why the SHELTER MANAGER HAS NEVER APPROACHED HER EMPLOYEES AND TALKED TO THEM ABOUT THESE ISSUES! Before people go talk to the city to keep the shelter running, people WHO really supports PAAS and really love animals should stop by PAAS, call or write a letter to PAAS manager and ask her what will she do to improve PAAS employees customer skills. There will be a meeting Tuesday at city hall, people should go and talk with PAAS Manager regarding all these complaints. I see that the problem is not only the city or police but also PAAS too. Any business without a strong Leader does not work well and that is what PAAS had tuned into .

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Tadeu and Only facts:

Let's work to IMPROVE the customer service at PAAS--the animals there deserve our best efforts to keep the place open.

Don't be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Posted by Rachel
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Bill H.
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Just a general comment. If PAAS is to stay open, it will need a great deal of work, starting with becoming a non-profit shelter like PHS, ASPCA, etc. The personnel is certainly an issue, but will likely leave or will be relieved of their jobs when the shelter becomes a privatized industry. There are many passionate people who love animals, and are also capable of being respectful, kind, and good to the people (customers) who also love them. I have personally sent people to the shelter to look for animals with the caveat "The staff is pretty snarly, don't take it personally."

I'd like to see the people that work at the shelter held to a higher standard, and I often feel embarrassed when I have to offer the "disclaimer." I do this so that an animal or animals might be adopted.

The shelter, even in its dilapidated form, can operate as an ugly duckling for awhile, and make improvements slowly. It seems a great deal of the issue centers around the inside staff (not the Animal Control Officers), and this is something that must be addressed. If people are staying away from the shelter due to nasty personnel, there is a reason it is not generating revenue. This seems so simple, and yet has apparently been going on for years. Very, very sad that the behavior of some of the staff prevents animals from getting into permanent homes. Terrible really.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Bill H:

Aren't you blowing things out of proportion? ONE staff member is lacking in social graces, and then you label the entire staff as "nasty" and preventing "animals from getting into permanent homes." That is a sweeping claim you make.

You need to look at the figures for 2011 for adoptions, and for spaying/neutering plus vaccinations and micro-chipping!!

Posted by Correction...
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Correction to Rachel's comment :::: THE CITY VETERINARIAN IS A FULL TIME EMPLOYEE... not part time... But there is more to this

Posted by Correction...
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

If you have any concerns regarding employees; please send a written complaint to : SANDRA STADLER
Palo Alto Animal Services
3281 East Bayshore Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94303

But please copy furnish it to her immediate supervisor otherwise your letter will fall in to deaf ears! Here is her immediate supervisor:
Chief of Police
City of Palo alto
250 Hamilton St
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Posted by Only Facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Tadeu
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm

To Jardin: Well Jardin since you know PAAS well and you are trying so hard to save PAAS from closing down why don't you make the first step. You should stop by PAAS and talk to manager regarding the bad customer service and let others know how it went.

Posted by Bill H
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi, sorry for the blanket statement. However, it is not a single employee - there are issues with customer service throughout the shelter, and I commented on one person. Sandra Stadler is a very nice person, in fact, too nice, which is why complaints fall on deaf ears. I want the shelter to stay open - I want respectful staff in the shelter. And part of the reason, selfishly, is that I work, pay taxes in Palo Alto, and am in effect helping to pay the salaries of those employees who get away with murder in terms of how they treat people. And I want potential adopters to feel WELCOME in the shelter. I don't know the exact number, but some of these employees are in the union, so if a complaint is made, they call their union rep. No ill will intended to the shelter staff that is wonderful - just need better overall respect for the people who walk in happy and leave disheartened.

Posted by Only facts
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

See, what I am talking about!!!! When someone post a comment that tells the truths about PAAS manager. Tells that the manager can't and will not do anything to improve the customers service at PAAS and especially Connie disrespectful behaviour towards customers they" PAAS Manager" calls Palo Alto Online to remove the comments. That's why PAAS will never improve, cause they don't want to. PAAS just want blame the city or Police for everything that has been going on.

Posted by Jonah
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

Only Fatcs, I agreed with you. PAAS attitude is weak and it showns that the manager don't want to listen to what customers have to say or think. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Tonny
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Mandivir
a resident of University South
on Apr 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] I have been at SVACA and the employees are much younger and have a very different approach. They are more open to ideas and knows how to deal with the young customers. PAAS has not changed a thing since the age of stones. You stop by PAAS you will see that 80% of PAAS customers are 60 years of age and older. To them PAAS is a paradise, cause PAAS grandmas and them are alike and think alike. I am not discriminating against old people, ahahaha I have a GRANDMA too. I am just saying that PAAS employees are not rude or disrespectful, it is just the way they are. OLD GRANDMAS and you don't want to mess with OLD GRANDMAS. Just do like me and many others take your business to someplace else.

Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

So what if they're breeders, dog and cat owner? I don't like breeders. I clean up the results of their "hobby" all the time. Don't give me your line about all the good that they do - I don't believe it. 4 breeders working at a small shelter is bizarre.

Posted by Crystal P
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Yes, this shelter has changed over the years, for the worse. Years ago Greg Betts use to manage the shelter, infact he was the one who achieved the contracts with the other cities back in the day to keep the facility running. The facility has never turned a profit for the city, it's only payed for itself, and provided customer service in animal control needs to the public. When Betts left, the shelter seemed to loose it's spirit and focus on the animals. The front office staff is incredibly rude, and yes, it is a conflict of interest to kill animals who are homeless all the while you are breeding and selling them at home. Fine, be a breeder but do not work at an animal control facility. The Animal Control Officers are very friendly and professional, however I agree there are too many of them. The city use to function just fine covering four cities with 2 full time and one part time. The spay and neuter clinic is a must have to maintain a leadership role in animal welafare by offering convenient, low cost ways to reduce the pet overpopulation problem in this country. However, the City Vetrinarian really needs to be audited to see how she is spending her time compared to how much her salary is. If you look at the amount of surgeries performed when city veterinarian Linda Miller was onboard years ago, it is double what it is now. Why? Because she was there and ready to begin at 6am, didn't ever turn anyone away who was a few minutes late for check-in, and was completely dedicated to the focus and goal of the spay and neuter clinic. I feel all positions in the facilty need to be audited; some eliminated. The shelter should be upgraded to meet standards, the shelter should provide longer open hours during the week and on Sundays, and the shelter needs a strong leader who will promote humane education and fundraising to bring in those extra dollars and maintain public support.

Posted by Hallelujah!!
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

OMG... Crystal P... I have been waiting for this kind of post!!!! You are absolutely right!!!
"However, the City Veterinarian really needs to be audited to see how she is spending her time compared to how much her salary is."
>>>This is true!!!<<<
Please write to her Immediate Supervisor Sandi Stadler and send a copy to Sandi's supervisor - Dennis Burns, Chief of Police!!

Posted by Margo
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hallelujah!!, They all know how much The VET works and makes. SANDRA STADLER knows all the bad things that has been happening at PAAS. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The ladies in the front office don't have any customer services skills at all and I checked the Palo Alto news to see how much they make per year and they make a lot $$$$$$. Besides the Animal Control Officers everyone AT PAAS should be AUDITED. PEOPLE ALREADY POSTED HERE THAT LETTERS WERE SENT TO THE CITY AND TO THE POLICE CHIEF " DENNIS BURNS " ABOUT ALL THESE ISSUES AT PAAS, BUT NOTHING WAS DONE ABOUT IT. THAT WHY I SAY, PEOPLE AND THE CITY SHOULD REALLY,REALLY,REALLY LOOK INTO ALL THESE COMPLAINTS ABOUT BAD CUSTOMER SERVICES, OVERPAID SALARIES BEFORE DECIDING ANYTHING.

Posted by Hallelujah!!
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

@ Margo... I totally agree with you... "really, really, really" Something has to be done to stop this!! It is not right!!! Where did it say that letters have been sent to Dennis Burns? I did not see that... The VET has to be audited / investigated!!! PERIOD!!!
Maybe Palo Alto Online can look into this!!!

Posted by Margo
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Hallelujah.... I was told by a former PAAS employee that, this employee it-self wrote a complaint to the chief Dennis Burns regarding CONNIE disrespectful manner towards customers and employees. NOTHING HAD BEEN DONE ABOUT IT AND IT HAS BEEN YEARS NOW. Because SANDRA STADLER never wanted to address the situation regarding CONNIE.

Posted by Darla
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

I never been in this shelter, but after reading all the issues about this Shelter, it seens to be pretty bad. I was with a friend at Mountain View, Shoreline Dog Park few weeks back and we met an Animal Control Officer, Officer Santos and He was very nice. A few people told Him about the shelter bad customers services, bad mangement etc. Also an elderly lady told Him and Us that she knew the former shelter's manager Greg Betts and the shelter used to be much,much,much better when Greg Betts was in charge of it and she wished that Greg Betts had never left the shelter. Anyway liked I said I don't know much about the shelter, but Officer Santos handle the complaints pretty good while been hammering. People can't judge all the employees as bad.

Posted by Iyen
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

Yep, the Animal Control Officers from this shelter are very nice and very polite, but rest of the people who works there SUCKS pretty bad. My mom knew Greg Betts and she told me that the shelter was much more organized when Betts was the manager. she is a big support of PAAS but she has seen a much better PAAS.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Have they shut it down yet? I am not quite sure. I really hope they haven't shut it down yet . The only reason I am on this website is because I have to do to do this math project on if I had 5,000 dollars so I could either choose a person or a non profit organization. So I chose this organization to spend all the money on Palo Alto Animal Services. Good thing a took a community aprenttiship.

Posted by What next?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

So now that the city has all this extra money that they blow on projects we don't want, can they spare some dough for the shelter? It provides a valuable service, especially the inexpensive spay/neuter clinics.

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