Heated Debate Over Indio Animal Shelter

Angela Monroe

Heated Debate Over Indio Animal Shelter

CREATED Mar. 21, 2012

INDIO - People are up in arms over whats to happen to their furry friends at the Indio Animal Shelter.
The city of Indio is considering turning its shelter over to Riverside County Animal Services.
But we just got word Monday night, they are putting that decision on a leash for the next six months.
These furry felines and dogs could get a new home at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus.
But some animal volunteers are worried what that would mean.
"The Coachella Valley Animal Campus is already impacted as far as overcrowding, in influx another 2800 animals a year from the Indio area, something has to give and what happens to those animals when they go into the shelter," said Barbara Klein, who volunteers at Animal Samaritans and the county shelter.
Barbara Klein is afraid more animals would be euthanized at the county shelter.
But Lori Kirshner says the conditions at the Indio Shelter are not acceptable.
"Indio shelter as it exists now and as it's been existing the last several years is not acceptable, the animals are suffering, the animals are dying, being killed at a rate higher than any other shelter in our valley, and its just unacceptable," said Dr. Lori Kirshner, founder of Advancing the Interest of Animals.
The Indio Police Department manages animals services.  They didn't have the number of animals euthanized with them when we asked.
Riverside County Animal Services gave us these numbers -- from July 2011 to February 2012 at the Coachella Campus in Thousand Palms, over 6,100 animals taken in, 3,500 euthanized.
"It's a sad statistic, but because of the fact that we deal with so many pets, we also adopt out more animals and send more animals to rescue groups and a lot of other organizations as well, so that's sometimes one of the other flip sides of this whole side of animals getting euthanized, we're dealing with such a large volume that many animals are getting saved as well," said John Welsh with the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
The police department reported that the current Indio shelter needs a lot of improvements.
"Keeping it with the city, still working it with some community partnerships, or going with county animal services, those are the things that we have to look at, savings are obviously a factor, but at the same time the quality of service is also important," said Ben Guitron with the Indio Police Department.
And many in the community say they do want to find ways to help their furry friends.
We are told the city will make an ad-hoc comittee to see if they can make the Animal Care Center of Indio a viable shelter, and come up with the $40,000 in saving they would get from transferring responsibilities to the county.

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