Two weeks after the city of Bakersfield opened its own animal shelter, renovations are behind schedule and a county animal commission is expected to suggest the city reverse its animal intake policy at the Bakersfield City Council meeting Wednesday.
All five of the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center's kennels were to have been renovated by Oct. 15, but two are still being completed, two are finished -- and work on the fifth has not yet started.
"We had a pretty ambitious goal, to be able to open on the 15th," said Steve Teglia, assistant to City Manager Alan Tandy, pointing out that the Center has been accepting animals from city residents with valid identification since opening Oct. 1. "We should have the kennels done in the next week or two, but the longer-term work is site improvements related to the new administration building."
Teglia said crews have poured a new driveway apron on the property's southern edge so motorists traveling south on Mount Vernon Avenue soon won't have to make U-turns -- but that arrival of a new, prefabricated administration building, once set to happen as soon as November, may not happen until January.
That's not all the news, either.
Members of the Kern County Animal Control Commission, which advises the Kern County Board of Supervisors, are expected to ask the Bakersfield City Council to have the Center take in animals based on where they are found -- not on the address of the person turning them in.
Both the city and, reluctantly, the county have chosen to take animals brought in by their respective residents.
Activist Liz Keogh, who spoke to a special commission meeting Monday, said this ignores the reality of how animals travel and who is bringing them in.
"Animals generally don't wander too far. They know where their next meal is coming from," said Keogh, who thinks the good samaritans dropping off stray animals need to figure out where the animals come from and get the animal to the right shelter -- because here in Bakersfield, "just bringing the animal to the nearest shelter isn't going to work."
Commission members are also expected to recommend to the council that the city and county reimburse each other for taking in each other's animals; and that both agencies ease off on requirements that people show a valid identification before being allowed to drop off animals.
Teglia said having the city reverse its intake policy would make it more confusing to residents -- and that since the city recently separated from the county over animals, having the two agencies get involved in additional financial transactions related to the issue is a bad idea.