Union workers stage protest as County mulls plan to outsource Animal Control services

Workers will take animals to Coundy Admin Building
Posted at 5:23 AM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 10:44:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Union workers from the SEIU Local 221 plan to bring their pets to work Tuesday to stage a protest outside of the County Administration Building.

Starting at 8:30 am, they're planning a "sit-in" in the children's playground area of Waterfront Park to send a message to the Board of Supervisors, who is currently looking at plans to outsource Animal Control services.

The county's contract to provide those services to six cities expires on June 30, 2018. The board already voted to not renew those contracts.

That means San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Santee will all have to find their own Animal Control services.

But the county's Department of Animal Services also takes care of the unincorporated areas of San Diego County, and the board is still mulling its options for how to cover that part of animal control.

Their options are to keep a smaller version of the Department of Animal Services, or to outsource the job to a private company. They say they'd like to find a way to make Animal Control more efficient and less expensive.

So far, the only company that has expressed interest is the San Diego Humane Society. They filed both "Request for Interest" and "Request for Qualifications" forms, but they have not submitted a full proposal yet.

The board has yet to solicit proposals.

Currently, the county runs three shelters -- Carlsbad, San Diego and Bonita. They also manage field services, dog licensing services and veterinary medical services.

The Department of Animal Services budget for 2017-2018 is close to $19 million, with $13,609,251 of that going to salaries and benefits.

A county report showed that the six cities accounted for 74 percent of all service calls in 2016. They also make up 70.3 percent of the budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

If the Board of Supervisors decides to hire an outside company to handle the unincorporated areas, it's possible current employees could lose their jobs. County officials say it's too early in the process to know for sure.

Union members told 10News they'd like the county to keep the Department of Animal Services as is, including reinstating the contract with all six cities.

The board is holding public hearings about their options for the unincorporated areas this summer. The next one is August 17, from 6 p.m.-7:30 pm at the Bonita Library (4375 Bonita Road).