A local cat shelter official called for more clarity in how the city handles animal control following an incident involving a sick stray cat.
The City of Galt contracts with Sacramento County for animal control services and, in exchange for a 50% discounted rate, the Galt Police Department acts as the first point of contact for Galt residents. The agency has kennels at its headquarters where animals are kept until a daily pickup by the county, and it can also call animal control to pick up certain animals from the field.
Gayleen Gomez, vice president of Purrfectly Pawsible, told the Herald that the department implemented the contract inconsistently and placed an unreasonable burden on Galt residents to deal with stray animals. The department says it has the resources to carry out its duties, but the incident in question presented a difficult situation.
In an interview, Gomez said he received a call on July 13 from a Galt resident who found an apparently sick cat wandering around the neighborhood. Gomez told the resident to call 311 and have animal control dispatched. According to Gomez, the resident was told that only Galt police could send animal control into town and advised to take the cat to the police department.
When the resident arrived at the department, the police refused to take the cat. Gomez said it was because the cat was sick, rather than “injured,” citing a provision in the city’s contract with the county. Gomez said department staff said to take the cat to a veterinarian. Eventually, Gomez took the cat to the Sacramento Bradshaw County Animal Shelter, where it was euthanized due to poor health.
Gomez said the experience is an example of inconsistent animal control policies in the city and an “expectation for Galt residents to fund and care for these stray, sick animals.”
As a result, the same day the cat was found, Gomez sent an email detailing the issue to members of the Galt City Council, City Manager, County Supervisor Don Nottoli and County Animal Control Director. . She also spoke during public comments at the July 19 city council meeting.
Additionally, Gomez said “more than one dog has escaped from the holding area there at Galt PD.” She said the waiting area should be double door.
Speaking to the Herald, Galt Police Captain Richard Small commented on the July 13 incident with the stray cat.
“From what I understood, the problem was that someone wanted to bring in a sick animal. Now it’s a little bit different from injured,” Small said. He said the department can handle slightly injured animals but prefers not to house sick animals in its kennels due to the risk they could infect other animals held by the agency. As a result, Small said, ward staff referred the resident to Bradshaw.
Small said the department prefers people not to move sick or injured animals and instead call the non-emergency number, 209-366-7000, for help. An officer may come out to confirm the situation, then call animal control.
Small said he was not aware of any dogs escaping from department property, noting that the department does not track such incidents. Although he acknowledged that a dog would occasionally come out of its crate and run around the department’s gated parking lot, he said staff were able to subdue the dog.
“I don’t know of any specific incident where a dog was brought here and walked out of our facility,” Small said.
Small noted that it’s unusual for a police department to handle non-aggressive animals. In an email, Annette Bedsworth, director of animal care and regulation for the county, said she was “unaware” of what other cities in Sacramento County are doing for animal control. animals.
“We provide services for unincorporated parts of Sacramento County and the City of Galt,” Bedsworth said.
Small said the police had the resources to carry out their contract duties, but added that the deal didn’t provide “the full service you’d get from a more expensive contract with the county.”
“We have a department full of dog and cat owners…so no one here, believe me, is trying to abuse or ignore the needs of the animals in our community. Quite the contrary,” Small said. “We try to do our best to ensure that all animals we come into contact with receive the treatment they need.”
Gomez clarified in an email that she is not “anti-Galt PD.”
“I oppose an agreement to provide services to residents of Galt where the terms of this agreement are not met,” Gomez wrote.
In the interview, Gomez talked about the kind of animal control she hopes to see.
“I can assure you that the residents of Galt care about animals. They also want sick animals not to be released into their community. It’s not public safety. So hopefully in the future we will develop some sort of progressive animal service where we have better delivery of these services to our citizens.