Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 07/10/2012 04:12:12 PM PDT

Supervisor Neil Derry’s proposal to form a commission to address animal-control issues in unincorporated areas got the green light Tuesday from the Board of Supervisors.

Derry proposed the formation of the Animal Care Community Outreach Commission in March to increase public awareness on the numbers of stray dogs, cats and other animals that flood the county shelter in Devore and to promote pet adoptions.

The proposed ordinance, passed on a 4-1 vote with Board Chairwoman Josie Gonzales dissenting, is also aimed at increasing spay and neuter rates of dogs and cats. It goes before the Board of Supervisors on July 24 for adoption.

Gonzales objected to the $12,000 yearly cost to run the commission because the Department of Public Health did not budget for it. She said $12,000 is a pittance, and the county should pursue larger chunks of funding – a minimum of $300,000 annually – from state grants to properly address the issue.

Countering Gonzales, Derry said he would be willing to fund the commission’s first year’s operating expenses from his own discretionary funds.

It didn’t sway Gonzales, who told Derry it was like putting a Band-Aid on a bigger problem. She stressed that the county should not be using its earmarked funds for other things, saying it weakens the budget approval process.

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