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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

These puppies that were previously brought to the Kern County Animal Shelter were abandoned in a park.

Kern County has made an offer to buy a large animal boarding business on East Brundage Lane as a possible replacement for the animal shelter it currently occupies on Mount Vernon Avenue.

Sczyrs Kennels & Cattery owner Frances Reynolds confirmed the county did make an offer last week and she is considering it.

She would give no further details and county officials were equally tight-lipped.

County officials visited the Sczyrs (pronounced seers) site on July 22.

That was after the first dust-up following the city's public contemplation of evicting the county from the Mount Vernon shelter, which is owned by the city.

At issue was a two-year agreement the city was hoping to reach with the county on shelter operations.

After the July spat, the county pledged to work with the city on the agreement. But the city says it saw no real progress being made.

So, the city informed the county Aug. 21 that it had until Sept. 30 to vacate the Mount Vernon shelter. Sept. 30 is when the current city/county agreement expires.

The two entities have been feuding over animal sheltering issues for more than a year.

The city had been paying the county to care for city animals at the shelter. But in 2012, the county determined the city had been paying too little, about $340,000 a year, and wanted to up its share to just above $1 million a year.

The city balked and the county nearly left the shelter last spring. They came to an interim agreement in which the city would pay a little more than $740,000 a year.

Ultimately, they decided to build separate shelters at the Mount Vernon site and were in the midst of working up a two-year operational agreement when the city served the county with its eviction notice.

The city was fed up, it said, after months of no communication from the county on the draft two-year agreement.

The city plans to operate the Mount Vernon shelter under a contract with the Bakersfield SPCA.

The county, meanwhile, has gone into scramble mode looking for a place to move animals currently housed at the Mount Vernon shelter.

The Sczyrs facility has been in operation since 1969 and is very well-regarded.

It sits on about 2 1/2 acres and is surrounded by land owned by Bolthouse.

Last week, county Animal Control Director Jen Woodard said it was a good possible location with room to expand.

She refused to comment Monday on the county's offer, however.

County Administrative Officer John Nilon said any negotiations are preliminary so he could not comment other than to say county staff are looking at numerous private and county-owned properties.


The following email string sheds light on the behind-the-scenes communication that went on as the county and city attempted to hammer out an animal control agreement:

Sent: 5/29/2013 11:12 AM

From: Steven L. Teglia

Hi Jen:

I was wondering if you could update me on the status of the County's review of the draft animal control agreement I sent earlier in May? I would like to have your response so I can review the suggested changes/edits and set a meeting to move this process along. Let me know when you can.


Steven L. Teglia

Assistant to the City Manager

City of Bakersfield

From: Jen Woodard

Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:44 PM

To: Steven L. Teglia

Cc: Andrew Heglund

Subject: Re: Animal Control Agreement

Hi Steve,

It is somewhat out of my hands at this point as John Nilon had some concerns with the draft and he has instructed Teri Bjorn to review. However I see I have a meeting set up by CAO's office to meet on this topic the week of the 10th. I'll follow up today to see our next steps because I know this is very time sensitive. Everyone is well aware of the end date here so I'll see if I can get some idea as to what we're doing about that.


Sent: 5/29/2013 1:25 PM

Steven L. Teglia

Thanks for the update Jen, I will wait to hear back from you.

Steven L. Teglia

Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:39 PM

From: Jen Woodard

To: Steven L. Teglia

Cc: Andrew Heglund

Subject: RE: Animal Control Agreement

Hi Steve,

Per John Nilon, we have a meeting on June 17th, which was the earliest to get all the players together including the Supervisors. On June 18, 2013 we are planning on asking the Board to approve a short-term 6-9 month extension until we can work with the city to iron out contract issues. It is the intention of Teri Bjorn to provide the city with a draft of the extension late next week or thereabouts.

Hope this helps.



Sent: 5/29/2013 4:01 PM

From: Steven L. Teglia


I appreciate you communicating the County's timeline, as this is the first I have heard of this path. It was my understanding that as the Department Head over Kern County Animal Control, I was working directly with you on this extension, but it appears that the CAO's office is handling this matter. this correct?

The current agreement has a provision for the extension of our current arrangement past June 30th, through September of 2013. If the County would like to discuss triggering this clause, they need to start talking to us. If this is not done, the lease expires June 30th, which complicates things greatly. I am not sure what the County is planning on putting on the Board agenda on the 18th, but whatever it is, it needs to be discussed with the City first.

I would suggest you share this with Mr. Nilon or whoever else you are working with so we can try to avoid this becoming a bigger issue than it needs to be. I was under the impression we were working in good faith towards a common goal which was to continue our relationship through a short-term transition period to allow for the development of new County facilities. I hope this is still the case, but I must admit that this unilateral plan is disconcerting to say the least.


Steven L. Teglia

Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 4:22 PM

From: Jen Woodard

To: Steven L. Teglia

Cc: Andrew Heglund; Alan Tandy; Virginia "Ginny" Gennaro; Tammy Davis

Subject: RE: Animal Control Agreement


I could only do so much with this because this spans far wider than just my Department so when John wanted to take the lead on this for directing next steps, I of course allowed him to do so. I was unsure myself what was going on because there has been many weeks between the last time we met, so indeed CAO's office and County Counsel are taking the lead on this in regards to the timeline and agreement. I have input of course from an operational standpoint but there is legal language and direction that is out of my knowledge base that Teri is working on with John's input.

I will share your concerns with him Steve but unfortunately we can't move much quicker than this, so hopefully I can provide more input tomorrow with answers to your questions and more detailed next steps.


Sent: Tue, 4 Jun 2013 22:27:24

From: Steven L. Teglia

To: Zack Scrivner , Mike Maggard

CC:'Harvey Hall, Ken Weir, Harold Hanson, Jacquie Sullivan, Bob Smith, Russell Johnson, Aland Tandy, Ginny Gennaro, John Nilon, Greg Williamson.

Supervisors Maggard and Scrivner:

I am writing to you as you are the County's representatives to the Metro Bakersfield Animal Control Committee (MBACC). As you may recall from the last MBACC meeting, held on March 13, 2013, the City and County mutually agreed on a path that would facilitate the development of new County Animal Shelter facilities, including a joint intake facility, on land made available by the City of Bakersfield at the Mount Vernon location. To facilitate this agreed upon approach, the existing lease/operational agreement between the City and County needs to be extended to allow adequate time for both agencies to follow through with the agreed upon plan. City representatives met with Jen Woodard, Kern County Animal Control Director, in mid-April to discuss the outline of an interim two-year agreement to continue the City/County relationship while the new facilities are designed and constructed.

The City provided Ms. Woodard with a draft interim agreement (modeled after the current lease/operational agreement) the first week in May. To date, the City has not received any comments, suggested changes, edits or feedback of any kind regarding the draft that was provided to the County. Last Wednesday, May 29th, I sent an email to Ms. Woodard (see first message at bottom of this email) to find out when the City would be receiving comment on the draft provided, as the current agreement expires June 30, 2013. Through an exchange of several emails (see below), the City was informed that the issue was being handled by County Counsel's Office and the County Administrative Office and, other than for operational issues, was out of the hands of Ms. Woodard.

We were also informed that the County has plans for a large internal meeting on Monday, June 17th, which is to include multiple Supervisors, to discuss this issue. We were further informed that there are plans for the Board of Supervisors to be presented with a "6-9 month extension" at their June 18th Board of Supervisors Meeting. Needless to say, this update was disconcerting on several levels:

1.) The City has never been provided with a response to the draft agreement which was provided to the County over a month ago;

2.) It is troubling that County staff is preparing to place an extension before the Board without any discussion, to date, with the City;

3.) The current agreement expires on June 30th, but does contain a provision to extend its terms for an additional quarter through September 30, 2013, provided both the City and County agree in writing to such an extension;

The extension through September 30th should provide ample time for the City and County to formalize an interim two-year agreement, as we set out to do. We do not see the need for a 6-9 month extension to accomplish this task. Please advise us, or have your staff advise us, that you wish to trigger the extension provided for under the terms of the current agreement so we can continue to make progress towards realizing our joint plan.

I am hopeful that this issue does not blow-up and negate the positive progress that has been made since both the City and County agreed on a future plan.

Thank you,

Steven L. Teglia

Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 11:56 AM

From: Jen Woodard

To: Steven L. Teglia

Subject: Board on July 23rd


I wanted to give you a heads up that I'll be returning to Board on July 23rd to ask for a 3 month extension to our AngelDogs contract as is and also to announce the RFP we are doing to secure mobile or onsite spay/neuter services going forward with AngelDogs or any other vendor.

I know this topic was controversial before with the City but this shouldn't impact City at all as we have savings to pay them without asking for additional money for the 3 months. And I believe you were supportive of an RFP process before as a way to explore other options for spay/neuter at lower costs in Kern County.

Just giving you a heads up if you have any questions or concerns about this.



Steven L. Teglia

7/1/2013 12:05 PM

Thanks for the heads up Jen. As we previously discussed, since the County has been verbally agreeable to the structure of the interim two-year agreement (utilizing the existing agreement as a model), there is no need for us to be scrutinizing the utilization of resources as we would if the County was still trying to force the City to pay for a specific percentage of whatever the County spent. To make good use of the 90 days we now have, it would be good to have some response from the County to the draft interim agreement we sent back in May. I know this is in the hands of Mr. Nilon and Ms. Goldner, but I am hopeful we can work out our two-year deal to allow adequate time for the implementation of our plan.



From: Jen Woodard

Sent: Mon, 01 Jul 2013 12:11:54 -0700

To: Steven L. Teglia

CC: Joe Mullins, Tammy Davis

Thanks Steve. John is off for 2 weeks and the Board is dark this week so not much is moving forward unfortunately. As soon as I know something I will connect with you. I know Zack wanted the 3 of us to meet. He was going to have his assistant set that up so we could speak about next steps.


Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:48 PM

From: John Nilon

To: Amber Lawrence (assistant to City Manager Alan Tandy)

Cc: David Couch; Mick Gleason; Leticia Perez; Mike Maggard; Zack Scrivner; Jen Woodard

Subject: Letter

Good Afternoon Amber,

Attached is a letter from my office for Mr. Tandy. The original will be sent to you via interoffice mail.

Thank you

John Nilon

Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 2:27 PM

From: John Nilon

To: Alan Tandy

Cc: David Couch; Mick Gleason; Leticia Perez; Mike Maggard; Zack Scrivner

Subject: Animal Control Shelter Proposal


Good afternoon.

I have received direction to work with you on the proposed two-year agreement for Animal Control Shelter services. I just want to let you know that I have received that direction and am working with counsel on language to propose to you. I am sure this will come shortly.

I very much look forward to a mutually agreed upon solution.

Thank you for your patience.


Sent: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 14:29:11 -0700

From: Alan Tandy

To: John Nilon

CC: David Couch, Mick Gleason, Leticia Perez, Mike Maggard, Zack Scrivner

Thank you!