Thursday, July 23, 2015


The 2014-2015 Grand Jury investigated Devore Animal Shelter (DAS) in response to a public complaint alleging that the facility failed to adhere to its policies and failed to comply with the Hayden Law. DAS is a county facility administered by the Department of Public Health. 

The No Kill activists filed complaints, had every opportunity to present any evidence of their allegations and accusations. Where was the evidence?

 The Grand Jury also investigated the following issues at DAS: micro-chipping of animals (implanting of a micro-chip under the skin of a domestic animal as a means of identification); number of animals being euthanized; sick animals not being isolated from the healthy population; and Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) not being utilized. 

In a 2001 decision, the Commission on State Mandates found that some provisions of the Hayden Law were reimbursable state mandates meaning that funds would be provided to carry out the provisions of the law. In 2009, provisions of the Hayden Law that were deemed to be reimbursable state mandates were suspended when the Governor and the legislature failed to make allocations for reimbursement within the budget for those provisions. 

The provisions of the law that are currently suspended and unenforceable are as follows: 
1.  The requirement that each animal brought into a shelter be held for a minimum of six business days, unless the animal is available for adoption or owner-redemption on one weekend day or one weekday evening. In that case, the animal must be held only four days (Food and Agricultural Code §31108, §31752, §31753) Devore is still adhering to the six days although it is suspended. 

2.  Some of the records that allow shelters (and their owners or rescue/adoption groups) to track animals in the system (Food and Agricultural Code §32003)

3.  The requirement that animals other than cats and dogs receive the same conditions of holding and care as cats and dogs (Food and Agricultural Code §31753)

4.  The requirement that shelters maintain lost/found lists and provide the names and addresses of other shelters in the area (Food and Agricultural Code §32001) 

5.  The required use of a standardized protocol to determine whether a cat is truly feral before denying a cat the benefit of the longer holding periods enacted in the Hayden Law (Food and Agricultural Code §31752.5).

What is still in effect, unfortunately, is the requirement that shelters release animals to animal rescue and adoption groups qualified under Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) non-profits that have requested an animal prior to his/her euthanasia (Food and Agricultural Code §31108, §31752, §31752.5, §31753, §31754) 

And there is the quandry. Are all rescues the same? Should aggressive animals be released to rescues? Even medical cases, should those be released to rescues without checking to see if their financial record warrants them getting a medical case? 

FINDINGS 1. The staff of the Devore Animal Shelter complies with the Hayden Law and all applicable procedures:

1.  The Chameleon database system maintains adequate record keeping. Animals are reunited with the owners when address information is current 

2.  The staff of the Devore Animal Shelter does not utilize Trap Neuter Release as it is not a mandate when feral cats are found, and funding is not available for TNR (Food and Agricultural Code §31752.5c). 

3. The Devore Animal Shelter utilizes donations and contributions in an effective manner. 

COMMENDATION The Devore Animal Shelter staff is commended for encouraging the assistance of outside groups and organizations in locating permanent homes for their animals and for utilizing ARFF, as a means to enhance revenue. 

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