Kern County Animal Control is not only moving to new digs, it's also begun looking for a new name.
Acting Director Shyanne Schull launched a campaign to come up with a new name on the department's Facebook page Thursday evening.
Though the department is facing the daunting task of moving its shelter operations, including potentially hundreds of animals, from Mount Vernon Avenue to a new facility on Fruitvale Avenue in the next 16 days, Kern County supervisors were OK with renaming the department.
"There was some brainstorming some time ago and the thought was, wouldn't it make sense to have a new name when the sign went up on the new building," said Supervisor Chairman Mike Maggard.
The idea is to remove perceived negativity associated with "Animal Control."
Facebook posters have mentioned "Animal Care" or "Animal Care Center" as possible replacements.
That could create even more confusion for local residents as the city's shelter is going to be called "City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center."
The county's move and the city's new shelter came after the two entities couldn't agree to continue a years-long arrangement where the county ran the Mount Vernon Avenue shelter on city land.
Their current agreement expires Sept. 30. The city notified the county Aug. 21 it would not extend the agreement and the county had to move.
The city plans to contract with the SPCA to run the shelter on Mount Vernon Avenue once the county moves out.
Supervisors last week approved leasing a new shelter space at 3951 Fruitvale Ave. and Animal Control staffers are working feverishly to get it ready.
They've also been scrambling to rescue or adopt out as many animals as possible prior to the move.
Per its Facebook page, Animal Control reported it had rescued or adopted out 773 animals between Aug. 21 and Sept. 11.
But, the department noted, many more new animals are coming to the shelter every day.
Indeed, last year, the shelter took in 2,777 animals in September alone.
For anyone interested in helping rename Animal Control, the department is taking submissions via Facebook until Sept. 18.
On Sept. 19, the seven names with the most "likes" will be forwarded to an evaluation committee, which will pick the winning suggestion.
-- Lois Henry, Californian columnist