More adoptions needed; 100 animals euthanized each month

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

SAN DIEGO - The City of San Diego has completed a number of new projects with its Animal Control Center in recent weeks, which the animal control officer believes will improve the conditions at the center.

San Diego Animal Control Officer Edmon Hawks said the department has seen a number of improvements over the past few months.

The primary improvements were made to the kennels, or pens, in which the captured animals are kept. Hawks said wire mesh that had been used to separate the pens was removed because of the danger it posed to the animals, and corrugated steel was put in its place.

"They would stab themselves, cut themselves and cut up their teeth because they would bite the wire trying to get to each other," Hawks said. "We put up the corrugated steel to keep the animals separate and to calm them."

Rubber mats were also placed in each pen so the animals will no longer be forced to sleep on cold concrete, and tarps were put up to act as a windbreak to fend off the cold north wind.

The shelter has also nearly completed work on a quarantine pen that will allow the city to quarantine dangerous or rabid animals.

New shelves were also built in the center's store room, so food and other supplies can be kept off the floor and better organized. Alamosa Animal Hospital recently donated 700 pounds of food for the animals, and Hawks said Wal-Mart in Alice also makes regular donations.

Hawks said he has also initiated a procedure to photograph every animal captured, in an effort to keep better records and help pet owners identify their animals.

One area in which the department has not seen progress is in adoptions. Hawks said despite his efforts to advertise and encourage the adoption of animals from the shelter, the number of adoptions has not increased.

Captured animals are taken to the animal control center at 804 E. Juanita St. in San Diego. If it does not have any identifying tags, the animal is kept for three days, after which it is either euthanized if it is sick or put up for adoption. Animals put up for adoption can only be kept for 10 days, however, and then they are euthanized as well. Hawks said on average he euthanizes 100 animals a month.

For information about adoption, contact the San Diego Animal Control Center at 279-2626 or the San Diego Police Department at 279-2924.