SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Six cities in San Diego County will have a new provider of Animal Control Services starting Sunday, after the County decided to end its contracts with San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Santee.
"You may see a different logo on a vehicle, or call a different phone number. But that will be about it," says County Department of Animal Control Director Dan DeSousa. He believes the services will remain the same.
The County made the contract decision in March of 2017. Since then, the Humane Society has had nearly a year's worth of meetings to finalize the new contracts. They say they'll offer everything the County did while also being able to do more than just what government contracts provide for.
"We think the County did a great job for over 30 years taking care of animals here," says Humane Society President Gary Weitzman. "But we are ready for Sunday. We have everybody on deck. We've hired up nearly 200 people to take care of these contracts."
The Humane Society will now be responsible for law enforcement of animal related rules, licensing of pets and picking up lost and stray animals. They say they've hired about 200 more people, and now have nearly 500 employees now to take care of animals in San Diego and beyond. Some of the new hires came from the County Department of Animal Control, which laid off 68 workers after losing the contracts.
The Humane Society says they will expand their coverage and service hours seven days a week. They also will continue to provide specialty services, like the kitten nursery and behavior center.
While the new contracts will add millions to their budget, Weitzman says they'll still need donations for the extra programs they offer. They'll also need more people to adopt animals than ever before.
The County Department of Animal Services will still maintain shelters in Carlsbad and Bonita, as they'll cover the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. They say they've been working with the Humane Society to make the transition as smooth as possible.
"While it may mean a change in personnel, we are hoping the public won't see any change in services, whatsoever," says DeSousa.
The County will close all three of its shelters Saturday, June 30th at 1 pm. That will give them time to move animals into the Humane Society's facilities. They'll also move out of the Gaines Street offices, which the Humane Society will take over.
Current pet licenses issued by the County will still be valid until they expire. After that, pet owners will need to contact the Humane Society for renewals.
To contact the Humane Society, call 619-299-7012 or go to their website, sdhumane.org.