OC Animal Care Shelter Animal Welfare & Enrichment Reform Needed NOW! End The Need To Kill

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Since the hiring of new OC Animal Care shelter director Andi Bernard in 2020, the 'State of the Art' $35 MILLION DOLLAR 30,000-fquare-foot facility opened in 2018 with a $25 MILLION DOLLAR annual budget has taken a dramatic shift back to the 'old ways' of excessive animal euthanasia that previously brought outrage to the Orange County community and initiated a lawsuit in 2014 due to the abundance of animals being killed.

At the time of it's opening, former OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer (now District Attorney of Orange County) stated "The goal [of OC Animal Care] is 100 percent responsible adoption for all pets." And OC Animal Care has been taking a regressive position of that concept over the past year. Since the start of Andi Bernard's career at OC Animal Care, programs and opportunities meant to benefit and enrich the lives of housed shelter animals have been removed on a monthly basis. In addition, multiple restrictions on placement have been enforced on animals citing 'risk' as the common theme. The 'REWARD' in these enrichment and placement procedures for shelter animals OUTWEIGH THE RISK! This has been proven with data from any progressive shelter that has programs such as playgroups, daily kennel exits, and special placement adoptions.

Over the past year since the start of Andi Bernard's position as shelter director, OC Animal Care has sent out well over 500 'last' and 'final' requests to the rescue community to exit dogs before facing euthanasia. The majority of these dogs were noted with 'behavioral concerns' such as 'People Selective', 'Arousal', 'Dominant', 'Not Dog Friendly', 'Not Social W/ Children', ‘Strong on Leash’, and other subjective adjectives that do not rightfully delineate a behavior deeming them fit for euthanasia. Furthermore, many of these ‘behaviors’ cited would not be considered by most people to fall outside the realm of normal for a young or adult dog housed in captivity in a confined cell. Additionally, some of the dogs placed on the list at risk for euthanasia seem to have what can only be described as minor medical conditions, such as skin problems and arthritis, which do not reach the threshold for being designated as “irremediably suffering”.

When the new facility opened, we thought we had witnessed OC Animal Care  successfully implementing a life-saving model for all animals, with an extremely low number of dogs being threatened with euthanasia. However, throughout 2020 the emails requesting help for large breed dogs before facing euthanasia have increased at an alarming rate. As we write this message 34 dogs are at risk of euthanasia, while a mere 24 are available for public adoption. This means that when not accounting for stray intakes, 70% of the dog population is being threatened with euthanasia and only 58 dogs in total are available to public or rescue at a facility with an annual budget of  $25 MILLION DOLLARS!

Andi Bernard needs to be replaced before its too late and more animals are needlessly euthanized. Her former 'risk management' background with Zero previous involvement IN Animal Welfare (or actually owning a pet for that matter) ARE NOT the desirable qualities of a qualified shelter director, and the fact that many previous staff members who truly cared for shelter animals have moved on to other facilities once Andi Bernard took over speaks volume to the regressive approach this shelter is taking. Our former Assistant Director relocated to another facility in the Inland Empire and within 90 days she increased their live release rate from 70% to 92%! Meanwhile, with the oversight of OC Animal Cares shelter director Andi Bernard, we have decreased our live release rate. You can explore the Shelter Statistics at shelteranimalscount.org. When comparing California shelter data to OC Animal Care alone, the State of California has a 61% decrease in shelter euthanasia, whereas OC Animal Care has seen the opposite with a decrease in live release rates/increase in percentage of housed animals euthanized. Well over 500 animals have been euthanized at OC Animal Care last year during a pandemic in which the facility was closed, and it's worth noting the shelter only took in a little over 3,000 pets since COVID19 shut down Orange County. And again, this is during the 2020 pandemic where adoptions have sky rocketed. Once things return to normal, the animals residing at OC Animal Care will suffer tremendously so WE NEED TO ACT NOW before it gets gruesomely worse!

Please sign the petition and let Orange County Board of Supervisors, OC Community Resources Supervisors, and local media outlets know THIS HAS TO STOP AND BE HANDLED IN THE BEST INTEREST OF SHELTER ANIMALS. Once you have signed, please inform the below parties via email your concerns and how you plan to make sure this is pursued to the fullest extent

Spitzer, Todd <Todd.Spitzer@da.ocgov.com>

Steel, Michelle <Michelle.Steel@ocgov.com>

Wagner, Donald <donald.wagner@ocgov.com>

Chaffee, Doug <doug.chaffee@ocgov.com>

Do, Andrew <Andrew.Do@ocgov.com>

Kim Frank (HOA) <Frank.Kim@ocgov.com>

Bartlett, Lisa <Lisa.Bartlett@ocgov.com>

Wright, Dylan <Dylan.Wright@occr.ocgov.com>

Atkinson, Cymantha (OCCR) <Cymantha.Atkinson@occr.ocgov.com>

Bernard, Andi <Andi.Bernard@occr.ocgov.com>

Schmidt, Monica <Monica.Schmidt@occr.ocgov.com>

Norberto Santana <voiceofoc@gmail.com>

Theresa Sears <tsears@voiceofoc.org>

Cabrera, Tony C. (KABC-TV) <Tony.C.Cabrera@abc.com>

Brazil, Benjamin <Benjamin.Brazil@latimes.com>

Erika Ritchie <eritchie@scng.com>