While You Were Sleeping Massive Changes Took Place in Rialto

 

 

On June 12th 2018 the Rialto City Council voted to move animal control services over to Riverside County rather than look to keep those operations local. Interim Police Chief Mark Kling went on and on at the June 12th meeting saying how nice the Riverside County Shelter is and how this will be better for Rialto. The Police Chief asked three of the people from the Riverside County west shelter to come out and do a presentation.

What was poor in this presentation is that there were a lot of games being played when it came to the shelters’ kill numbers. When Chief Kling spoke about Devore he used exact numbers when referring to Riverside County’s kill rates, they spoke in vague percentages. There was no mention of any issues are problems. For example what happens when the shelter runs out of space or how will the city get the word out to people, letting them know where they can find their lost pets as of July 1st. This is very concerning since it is right before the July 4th holiday when most people loose their pets. There is no money being dedicated to getting the word out in mass in the next four days (thank god for this blog). We did speak to John Welsh with Riverside County Shelter systems and he did say he would be reaching out to local media (including this publication) to work to educate residents on the change in shelter services

While the Riverside shelter is beautiful and very state of the art, we have questions on whether the facility is designed to handle animal services for two counties let alone two of the biggest counties in the State of California. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.

We sat down with Police Captain Wilson with Rialto Police and he said that this is not a perfect situation, but it was something worth looking into. He also broke down some of the items that were not clear in Police Chief Kling’s presentation to council on June 12th.

  • Devore requires injured animals to be taken to a vet prior to being admitted to the shelter forcing the city to pay a separate vet bill – Captain Wilson was not sure why in house vet services covered by SB County are not used to cover these costs.
  • Devore doesn’t like to take cats and will not take kittens. Currently if we have kittens we have to take them to Grand Terrace at a cost of $70 a kitten.  Riverside County will take cats and kittens as part of the contract – Reports from people living in the Riverside County area are reporting that even though Riverside County takes kittens,  they euthanize them (see image below). John Welsh from the Shelter system wasn’t sure about the complaint below but did acknowledge that they are getting better at dealing with felines.
  • Riverside County has a panel set up for animal seizures from homes found to be unfit costing the city money to hold the animals while the case is adjudicated – What this will do is build a greater barrier between owners who may be likely to seek out an opportunity to fix the problems found and keep their animals.
  • There is no plan to address the longer travel time to the new shelter when picking up lost animals – According to the last Southern California Associated Governments local profile on Rialto “32 percent of Rialto households own one or no vehicles”. This means over a third of our population will lack the needed resources to travel 55 mins to get to the shelter to pick up their animals. Another problem is that 7.8% work and live in Rialto, while 92.2% commute to other places meaning that people who have a car to get to this far away shelter are at work and stuck in traffic. The Riverside shelter does not have late hours and are only open for a short time on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
  • There is no plan in place to deal with the problem of what happens when the shelter is full – Riverside County already has a big problem with lost and abandoned animals. Now with Fontana, Rialto, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace and Colton adding animals to the system the question isn’t if , but when they hit capacity. John Welsh told us that this contract was possible because of the work that Riverside County has done to address their numbers of animals housed in their shelters. John Welsh seemed pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any problems with reaching capacity.
  • When asked about the accusation that Riverside County is reaching well outside their boarders in an effort to fill the gap of a lack of adequate funding in a County facing massive budget shortfalls Captain Wilson confirmed knowledge of Riverside County hasting budget problems and that these contracts would provide some relief – So the question is how can we guarantee that we will still get what we have been promised out of the contract and that they wont start making massive cuts to save the program? John Welsh admitted that the shelter spent the last year in the red but that they did not hunt out this contract, the city of Rialto came to them.

We spoke to someone in the office of SB County Supervisor Janice Ruthaford. They claimed that Riverside County was poaching San Bernardino County cities in an attempt to cover cuts in funding, that SB County has set aside $10 Million to develop a new state of the art animal control facility to be placed in a more central location to cities in the valley that currently use Devore. Dan Flores from Josie Gonzalez office also confirmed that there is a plan to build a facility here in the Inland Valley region. He did say that if they did not have the partners from local cities that they may be forced to re think the design and capacity of the facility.

The problem with this is that the change in shelter services was made without any public input. The Police and city are quick to run out and promote the latest tax increase or law, but when they are looking at a hot button issue like moving animal shelter services they are tight lipped and move under the cover of darkness.

The problems that still exist are access to the animals for the Rialto population, why the city was so tight lipped about the change and why are they still waiting to tell people about the anticipated change in shelter locations? We here at Rialto Now feel confident that we have spurred the right people into moving with the information sooner rather than later.

 

 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Becky Scott
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 07:18:13

    A lot of people will not travel 30 to 35 miles to look for their Cat or dog. And riverside has a higher kill rate then devor.

    Reply

  2. Sharyl andruska
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 09:49:22

    This is a travesty for the people of Rialto. The added distance will make reclaiming pets less likely, surrendering pets or strays less likely leading to greater numbers of abandoned or dumped animals and the likelihood that the residents of Rialto will travel to Riverside to look to adopt less so as well. These communities and their animals deserve much greater consideration and Rialto and Riverside both should be ashamed. I sat in the city council meeting where Colton voted to contract with Riverside and at point in time it sounded like a perfect solution. Riverside offered many amenities that SBCS did not offer and there was no awareness at to how they truly operated. Now there is a greater awareness and many are seeing outsourcing this service is not in the best interest of the community. This is a deeply troubling trend that I hope can be reversed in the future.

    Reply

  3. colette young
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 15:47:31

    From better to worse?

    Reply

  4. rialto-now
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 17:06:46

    Sharyl please place this comment on our post on the Rialto Now Facebook page as well. Many people think Colton is swimming in happy results of an opportunistic contract

    Reply

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