Advocates for Palo Alto shelter make last minute plea to keep MV's business


Tonight the City Council will vote on whether to join the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority. A group of Palo Altans hope to change council members' minds about ending its agreement with a Palo Alto animal shelter that may close without Mountain View's business.

Council members unanimously voted to dump Palo Alto Animal Services in November, but tonight the council will vote on whether to join Santa Clara-based SVACA. Joining SVACA will save the city $40,000 a year, according to a staff report released Thursday.

Palo Alto's shelter stands to lose $450,000 a year without Mountain View's contract. That has put Palo Alto between a rock and hard spot, and a car dealership may be built at the Bayshore Road site instead and 13 employees would lose their jobs. A Palo Alto-based group called "Save our Shelter" is expected to speak at the City Council meeting tonight and has gathered nearly 1,000 signatures in support.

"Mountain View didn't really weigh all the benefits and drawbacks with SVACA," said Luke Stangel, spokesperson for Save our Shelter. "With SVACA, Mountain View is actually going to get a lower level of service."

Stangel pointed to the cost for surrendering a family dog or cat, something many families have had to do during the recession in order to move away or into an apartment complex that won't allow pets. The cost of surrendering a dog or cat to SVACA is $150, while Palo Alto charges nothing.

SVACA director Dan Soszynski said the fee was raised in recent years to discourage people from dumping their animals at the shelter, though SVACA has worked with people who cannot afford it. SOS members have said that will mean more stray animals in Mountain View.

"We do our best to work with people to try and accept those animals into our program," Soszynski said. "One little dog was brought in by a senior who was in kind of a tough spot. We were able to bring the dog in and it's been here for a few months."

Soszynski noted that overall euthanasia rates for dogs and cats in recent years are similar to to what PAAS has reported, and can be found on SVACA's website. SVACA reports an 82 percent survival rate for dogs and cats for 2011 while PAAS reports 76 percent.

Soszynski also pointed to slightly cheaper fees for spaying and neutering animals at SVACA than PAAS, and added that Mountain View police would no longer have to deal with dangerous dog cases or animal cruelty cases. But SVACA fees for adoption are higher, $150 versus $100 at PAAS.

SVACA is also three miles further away from Castro Street than the Palo Alto shelter, adding two to five minutes to a trip from City Hall, according to Google maps.

To keep Mountain View, city staff members reported in November that PAAS offered to extend its shelter hours from 30 to 43 hours a week, 7.5 hours more than SVACA's posted shelter hours. Recently proposed budget cuts to PAAS could also save Mountain View an untold amount. PAAS also offered to waive any costs for renovating its aging shelter facility, Mountain View's share of which was an estimated $2 million.


Like this comment
Posted by Too Late
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

This has been a long time coming because Palo Alto needed to gain control over its costs and maintain its facility years ago. In regards to an animal issue ten years ago, it was of no help!

Like this comment
Posted by rem
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm

rem is a registered user.

Yep, spend MORE money..

One of these days Mountain View is going to learn...

Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Keep the shelter.Who needs another car dealership? The shelter is way more use to the people of Mountain View than the car dealership.

Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Penny wise and Pound foolish - that's our City Council.

Palo Alto is our neighbor - let's support them. $40,000 per year is a pittance compared to the hunfdreds of thousands that Mountain View P----s away!

Like this comment
Posted by sparty
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Good luck getting the environmental impact reports that say it's ok to build a new car dealership right on the wetlands.

This isn't 40 years ago...

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Castro City
on May 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I have been goint to PAAS for 25 years and have always had excellent pets and service as a result. I hope they can stay in business since they are so close. Where is the other facility? How far will the animal control officers need to travel to deliver strays? Gas is $$$ and time is precious with a panicked animal. Do the right thing, not just a knee-jerk reaction.

Like this comment
Posted by Katy
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

PAAS is an invaluable service for not only Palo Alto residents, but those in surrounding cities on the peninsula.

It would be a true shame to see them closed down, and I'm shaking my head at Mt. View's decision.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert Showers
a resident of The Crossings
on May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

CORRECTION: SVACA doesn't accept surrendered pets at all... and if they do, it’s most likely for euthanasia. They can be pickier with what animals they accept because they are not actually a municipal shelter like PAAS is. PAAS has to accept every animal from their jurisdiction regardless of temperament or health, so obviously their "survival rate" will be a little lower. PAAS also doesn’t charge anything for that service. PAAS = Apple, SVACA = Orange.

QUICK FACTS: The entire north end of Mtn. View borders Palo Alto. What part of Santa Clara borders Mtn. View? None.

PAAS is 1 mile from the Mtn. View Border. SVACA is 6 miles from the Mtn. View Border.

In 2015 after a huge capital investment to expand SVACA, the city of Mtn. View will be only saving on average of $40-50,000 per year. Not very much money for a city like Mtn. View.

It was a dumb move Mtn. View. Dumb move.

Like this comment
Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on May 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm

City Council: Please help keep this open!

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

This is a really stupid move. They have worked with us and I have called them several times about animal problems and they have always been on top of it.

Maybe the city counsel should hire a $160/hr consultant to study the matter. I'll be they would eat up the $40,000 in a month.

As an animal lover...this is penny wise and pound foolish.

Guess I shouldn't expect anything else from our council.

Let's vote all of these idiots out now!

Like this comment
Posted by Mr. T
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I only need dog licenses. I vote for going with the lowest cost provider. I do it by mail so location has no impact to me.

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Why yes, instead of seeing volunteers walking happy dogs along the trails at the bay, we could enjoy the view of people test-driving cars up and down the street! The bay would be a lovely location for a car dealership. Especially now that the city signed on to another program to encourage people to ride bikes.

To everyone who posted above (except Mr T)...I really appreciate and completely agree with your comments and continue to hope that someday, someone with that much common sense will run for council.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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