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Staff to recommend changes for troubled Animal Services

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County staff will recommend that the SLO County Animal Services division either become a freestanding department or be transferred from the Sheriff’s Department to the Public Health Department, according to a report presented to the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Aug. 26.

The report, conducted in response to Sheriff Pat Hedges’ push last year to have his department discontinue oversight of Animal Services, reviewed seven options for the division, but discounted five of them.

One idea deemed “not viable” was to contract out all animal services to Woods Humane Society.

Both of the remaining options, staff found, would cost money. Moving the division to Public Health would cost $155,000 a year, while making Animal Services its own department would cost $195,000. The current Animal Services budget is $2.4 million.

The Board of Supervisors has directed staff to return with a final recommendation for the transfer of the Animal Services division by Oct. 7.

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