June 10, 2022
By ROBYN DOBSON
The Yolo County Board of Supervisors will receive an update on the Yolo Animal Services Planning Agency Joint Powers Agency and the current operations of the Yolo County Animal Services during their meeting on Tuesday.
Yolo County Animal Services (YCAS) is a section of the Yolo County’s Sheriff Office that provides animal control and sheltering services to unincorporated Yolo County as well as UC Davis and the cities of Davis, West Sacramento, Woodland and Winters.
A 2013 study conducted by the Yolo County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program found the Yolo County Animal Shelter to be “inadequate, outdated and compromising the program’s ability to adequately serve the community,” according to a staff report.
Additionally, it identified the establishment of an animal shelter joint powers agency (JPA) as a means to provide participating jurisdictions with increased control over budget and operational decision-making.
In 2018, representatives of the county, UC Davis and the cities of Davis, Woodland, Winters and West Sacramento held two joint meetings to gather information on the status of the Yolo Animal Shelter and to suggest phases of the JPA development. The recommendations that followed included outlining a governance model to include powers, bylaws and voting structure; forming a strategic plan and developing a shared mission, goals and objectives; and considering operational models, staffing and financial projections.
Staff was directed to move forward with these phases and on Feb. 25, 2020 supervisors approved the Yolo Animal Services Planning Agency (YASPA) JPA agreement. Winters also approved in February 2020. Davis and Woodland both approved in August 2020.
YCAS has been experiencing drops in animal intakes and calls for service over the past five fiscal years, according to the staff report. YCAS also aligned with nationwide trends when it saw a single-year drop in animal intakes of 25.8% between 2018-19 and 2019-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In future years, animal intakes are expected to rebound due to pandemic recovery as well as pandemic-related shortages in spay/neuter services,” the report added. “In FY 2020-21, YCAS took in 3,334 live animals of all species (compared to 4,503 in FY 2016-17).”
Staff also found that 71% of dogs and 6% of cats entering the YCAS were returned to their owners, which is significantly higher than the national average which sits at only 17.4% for dogs and 2.5% for cats based on the Shelter Animals Count 2020 Animal Sheltering Statistics.
The YASPA JPA has had a total of nine meetings to date and is currently working on the strategic plan phase to guide the development of an operational model. The strategic plan development is expected to take place during meetings from March until May.
Once an operational model has been agreed upon, the YASPA JPA will look at the next phases including shelter location and design, financing, budget and implementation of an operational JPA.
“This is crucial as the JPA enters the next phase which will be the development of a strategic plan which will be focused on finding a common vision, goals and objectives of the organization as we move into the future,” the staff report stated. “After that phase, we anticipate another update to participating jurisdictions.”