With the City of Bakersfield taking over the Kern County Animal Shelter, county officials say they don't know yet what they will do with nearly 900 animals. This comes after city officials served shelter staff with an eviction notice Wednesday. County shelter staff have until September 30th to vacate the shelter. But, their main concern is moving all the animals. County officials say if they don't find a place in time, one of their options would be to euthanize them. "Our paramount concern is the safety of the animals and that 40-day notice from the city puts those animals in jeopardy," said County Administrative Officer John Nilon.
The Kern County Animal Shelter houses nearly 900 animals and many come from the city. County officials say after receiving an eviction notice from the city, they are working hard to find a new place to operate. "We don't know what's going to happen to those animals. We don't think the city's concerned so we're going to have to do whatever we can to protect the health and the well-being of those animals," said Nilon. "When we get to the day that we have to move, we literally have to take every animal in the facility, which includes dogs, cats, horses, pigs, everything we have so we leave an empty facility behind," said Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard. The shelter on Mount Vernon Avenue is leased from the city and the one-year agreement with the county expired in June.
The city and county had plans to run a joint animal shelter, but according to the city, it wasn't getting the necessary feedback from the county. "When there's not that sense of urgency to get something done in an efficient manner, that does not bode well for the continuation of of a relationship whether it be for a year or two years or longer," said Steven Teglia, Assistant to the City Manager. But, the county says there was communication during a meeting three weeks ago and also through e-mail, illustrating shelter staff wanted to move forward with a joint shelter. But, with an eviction order in place, the county's main focus is the animals. According to county officials, there are three options. "One of which is to move the animals. One of which is to release them, and in releasing them we can use some of the rescue agencies, that sort of thing. Or third, those animals would have to be destroyed," Nilon continued. County officials say they do have a couple of facilities they plan to look at to house the animals.
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