Grand Jury Report on OC Animal Care Flawed
“It is our belief that the report in its totality does not accurately reflect the current OC Animal Care program or the commitment of all County staff and our volunteers to the humane treatment of animals,” County Executive Officer Frank Kim said.
Among recent improvements made to the operations of OC Animal Care:
- Appointment of respected veterinarian Jennifer Hawkins as OC Animal Care Director.
- Reduction in dog euthanasia rates by more than half and cat euthanasia rates by a third for 2014.
- Replacement of broken kennel doors and installation of cat “portals” to expand roaming areas.
- Recommendations for $454,000 in the FY 2015-16 budget to fill nine vacant Animal Care positions and another $150,000 for shelter repairs, including replacement of the cat isolation trailer.
The core mission of OC Animal Care is caring for animals in need, Dr. Hawkins said. The County is committed to improving conditions at OC Animal Care, including hiring new staff and obtaining land at the former Tustin Marine base for a new animal shelter to replace the County’s current outdated shelter. The department continues to adapt to community expectations to provide care, promote responsible pet ownership, control rabies, address public safety related to potentially dangerous animals, and investigate animal cruelty and neglect.
“As a practicing veterinarian, I have dedicated my life to caring for companion animals,” Dr. Hawkins said. “As the Director of OC Animal Care, I have and will continue to promote conditions at OC Animal Care that benefit the animals in our care, acknowledge the work of our dedicated staff and serve the community.”
The County will be providing formal responses to the Grand Jury report within 90 days, as required by law.