City to review Animal Care contract 

Santa Clarita City Hall

The Santa Clarita City Council is expected Tuesday to review a five-year contract with the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control for local services. 

The city has contracted with the county for animal care since its inception, according to the city’s agenda, but City Hall heard complaints last year about Castaic Animal Shelter, the county’s Santa Clarita Valley hub, and the City Council ordered staff to take a closer look. 

“In 2023, the city commissioned a comprehensive assessment of DACC services to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing contract and explore opportunities for improvement,” according to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.  

The city ultimately found there was no cause to create its own shelter, which was part of the request from residents at the time. 

“The consultant looked at the data to see whether or not there is an overcrowding issue at Castaic Animal Care Center,” Tracy Sullivan, city of Santa Clarita community preservation officer, said during a presentation to the City Council in May 2023. “The results show there is adequate capacity to meet not only the city’s needs, but the needs of the entire service area.” 

Sullivan shared a chart that looked at 2017 to 2019, when demand was highest, according to data shared by the shelter.  

The chart indicated the average capacity for dogs was 51 and the average shelter population was 40. For cats, the figures were 56 and 47, respectively.  

The figures presented at that meeting reported that in 2022, the shelter adopted out 252 dogs, returned 177 to their owners and euthanized 52, according to the most recent data available. Those numbers indicated an increase from the previous year. 

The report also identified areas for “potential enhancement” of local services, according to the agenda, which adds those measures are under way. 

The enhancements include “additional spay and neuter clinics, organizing off-site adoption events, expanding media exposure and establishing a grant program to support local nonprofit providers,” Sullivan stated. 

The city’s agenda did not state the estimated cost of the five-year contract, stating “Annual costs to the city are determined separately each year based on an actuarial analysis performed by the county.” 

The contract is expected to continue services with the county through June 30, 2029. 

It contains several potential termination clauses, including the right for the city to cancel within 60 days’ notice of a change in fees from the county, and the right for either side to cancel with six months’ notice.  

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