Published: 28 March 2012 05:38 PM

San Bernardino County supervisors are looking into creating an animal services commission that will provide citizen oversight of the department that has been criticized by animal rights activists.

The Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to direct staff to conduct a feasibility study of a commission and report back at a future meeting. The vote was 3-1 with Board Chairwoman Josie Gonzales abstaining and Supervisor Gary Ovitt absent.

Supervisor Neil Derry, who proposed the commission, said he believed the commission would allow for critics to enter into a dialogue with the animal care and control division and work on potential solutions.

“The one thing it’s going to do is provide a forum,” he said. “I think there’s been so much discontent but there hasn’t been an opportunity for them to bring these issues forward.”

The division has been criticized from animal rights activists over practices at its Devore shelter with several at the meeting backing the commission proposal. They said its euthanization rate is too high and that the division does not do enough to work with animal rescue volunteers.

“I do believe this commission is one step towards solving the problem,” said Tamara Cross, a San Diego attorney. “We don’t feel like we have a voice. No one is listening.”

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