Exeter, Farmersville jointly agree to contract with Visalia for animal control services
By Reggie Ellis
EXETER, FARMERSVILLE – Animals travel in packs because there is safety in numbers and two local cities have taken up a pack mentality because there is savings in numbers when it comes to animal control services.
Last week, the Exeter and Farmersville city councils both agreed to begin contracting with the City of Visalia for animal control services this fall. Because of the short distance between the cities, Exeter and Farmersville have coordinated their animal control contracts with larger agencies to negotiate a reduced rate. Both cities were in discussions with Visalia and the County of Tulare for their animal control contracts. In 2012, the two cities jointly negotiated agreements with the City of Tulare for sheltering services with each city paying $41,000 per year. Visalia has had a similar contract with the City of Dinuba since 2015.
Farmersville’s annual cost for animal control is now $36,180 for sheltering services and $37,685 for field services for a total of $73,865, more than $10,000 less than the $85,000 proposed by the County of Tulare. The contract will also eliminate a part-time animal control officer position from the city’s budget, which costs about $53,000. Both cities currently contract for animal control services and sheltering with the City of Tulare.
The contract would also generate revenue for Farmersville which currently does not receive any dog license fees. Visalia would provide that service as part of its contract but would charge rates set by Farmersville and Exeter and not those charged in Visalia. Farmersville’s license will remain at $15 per year for altered animals and $20 per year for unaltered animals. Exeter’s license fees will remain $10 for altered dogs and $25 for unaltered dogs.
Exeter’s annual cost for animal control will be similarly split between sheltering and field services for a total of $75,800. The move may also save Exeter money as the city’s current animal control officer (ACO) is scheduled to retire by the end of November. It is difficult to say how much Exeter will save because the ACO duties were combined code enforcement officer duties into a full-time position. Exeter currently spends about $36,000 per year on its animal control/code enforcement officer. The agreements for both cities would take effect by Nov. 1, 2018.
Under the agreement, Visalia will care for sick and injured animals, provide required vaccinations, implant microchip identification and dispose of dead animals at no additional costs to Exeter and Farmersville. Animals picked up or dropped off from Farmersville and Exeter would also be housed separately from Visalia animals at the city’s Animal Care Center. The driving distance for pet owners wanting to reclaim their dog or adopt a new dog is only a one-mile difference between Visalia’s Animal Care Center located at 29016 Highway 99 and the City of Tulare’s Animal Services Department at 3817 South K Street.
Visalia will provide all of the field services of animal control including responding to calls for service, picking up stray, sick or infected animals, picking up dead animals, transferring animals captured by Exeter and Farmersville employees, investigate vicious dog claims, and assist with promoting licensing, spaying or neutering clinics, and low cost vaccination programs. Visalia will also provide emergency services such as a rabid dog, outside of normal business hours.
Exeter and Farmersville will be responsible for all handling all legal matters and providing support for Visalia animal control officers. The two cities will also have to pay for the microchips requested by owners.
Following California’s mandatory 14 day holding period, Farmersville and Exeter can either pay for animals to be humanely euthanized or they can relinquish responsibility of the animal to Visalia, which can then place animals in rescue shelters or choose to euthanize them. Farmersville and Exeter dogs deemed vicious will remain the responsibility of those cities until they are either returned to their owners or euthanized following hearings, the appeals process and other legal action.