Nevada County Animal Shelter change isn’t a done deal, Supervisor Ed Scofield says | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Animal Shelter change isn’t a done deal, Supervisor Ed Scofield says

Nevada County Supervisor Ed Scofield emphasized Tuesday that his board has made no decision about a recommendation to forego a new contract with Sammie's Friends.

Scofield's comments came in the wake of Monday's announcement that a panel recommended Placer County to handle the adoption of Nevada County animals out of its Auburn facility. Nevada County employees, including animal control officers, would operate the existing McCourtney Road facility under the proposal. The Nevada County facility would still serve as an intake spot for animals. It's possible some adoptions could still occur there.

The existing contract with Sammie's Friends ends June 30.

"I think we all feel like, I don't want to use the word 'blind-sided,' but in some ways we have," Scofield said. "It will come to the board at some point, so I don't feel that it's a done deal."

Scofield, who called himself a strong supporter of Sammie's Friends, said a public hearing will occur before supervisors approve any new contract.

Negotiations are in their infancy. It's unknown when a contract will come to a vote.

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"Be a little patient here," Scofield asked.

Many people contacted county offices on Tuesday about the proposal, prompting officials to issue a statement, said Taylor Wolfe, administrative analyst with the county. Supervisor Heidi Hall posted the statement on Facebook.

"Both Sammie's Friends and Placer County responded and submitted proposals to the Nevada County Sheriff's Office to provide intake, animal husbandry, and animal adoption services in three separate proposal components," a part of the statement reads. "The review panel used a rating system and held oral interviews. Placer County stood out to the panel during oral interviews for providing animal husbandry and animal adoption services. Although Sammie's Friends was asked if they'd like to provide a proposal to continue administering intake services, they declined and would only accept a contract if it included all three service components."

Fallout

Cheryl Wicks — cofounder and president of Sammie's Friends, the group that currently runs the shelter — said she intends on meeting today with Sammie's Friends staff. They'll discuss the possible change and she'll give staff the chance to ask questions.

"That could fall apart," Wicks said of contract negotiations. "I don't know what's going to happen."

Sammie's Friends' contract ends June 30, the same day its various insurances for the shelter expire. Wicks said she has no intention to buy another year of insurance if her group was asked to continue for an additional month, if transition time is needed.

"We would like them to make a different decision," Wicks said of the county. "Our constituents don't want that. We've created an exceptional reputation."

Wicks noted her shelter euthanizes animals only when they're deemed dangerous and there's no other option, or when an animal is sick or injured and euthanasia is considered merciful.

The local shelter has euthanized three dogs in eight years because they were dangerous and no other option existed. Those dogs either severely attacked or bit people, Wicks said.

It euthanized 10 animals in 2015 because of sickness or illness; 7 in 2016; and 6 in 2017, she added.

Wicks said the local animal shelter's euthanasia rate in 2001, the year she formed a volunteer group, was 68 percent. By 2006 it had dropped to 2 percent. According to Sammie's Friends, the rate was less than 1 percent by January of 2017.

According to documents provided by Wesley Nicks, Placer County's director of Environmental Health and Animal Services, his department euthanized 379 animals in 2015, a 22.2 percent euthanasia rate; 211 in 2016, 12.8 percent; and 172 in 2017, 8.4 percent.

"Since our new facility opened in late 2016 we have only humanely euthanized animals that were sick or injured beyond saving, or those that pose a danger to the public," Nicks said in an email. "Our policy is to use all means available to find homes for all of the animals in our care."

Process

Nevada County in December issued a request for proposals for animal shelter services. It received two bids — from Sammie's Friends and Placer County Animal Services Division — by the Jan. 29 deadline.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Office then recommended people to serve on a panel that would examine the proposals. The county's Purchasing Department approved those members. The members, who weren't disclosed, have backgrounds related to the proposals, said Josette Reina-Luken, county purchasing agent.

"They get the opportunity to review it, score and rank the proposals and then submit their scores," she said.

According to the request for proposals, the criteria were: description of services, background and staff; and proposed costs.

In-person interviews followed and county officials determined the final results on Friday. Emails notifying both parties were sent Monday, Reina-Luken said.

The Sheriff's Office now will begin contract negotiations with Placer County officials. If no agreement is reached, sheriff's officials could begin negotiating with Sammie's Friends, she added.

Once both sides agree on a contract, it's sent to supervisors for approval.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

know & go

What: Town hall meeting about Sammie’s Friends

Where: Foothills Event Center, 400 Idaho Maryland Road, Grass Valley

When: 5:30 p.m. April 25

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