SCAS seeks input to revise county codes, ordinances
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Sonoma County Animal Services (formerly Sonoma County Animal Care and Control) and Permit Resources Management Department (PRMD) are working with the community to modify existing animal care and control standards to improve the health, safety, and well being of people and animals. The county seeks public input at a public workshop April 7 on proposed revisions to the Sonoma County Animal Regulation Ordinance (Chapter 5) and Zoning (Chapter 26) sections of the Sonoma County Code.

While some revisions are necessary to bring the ordinance into compliance with state law, animal services leaders and community partners are harnessing the revision process as an important opportunity to update key regulations to align with contemporary standards and the expectations of the community.

“The paradigm of animal services has changed,” says Brigid Wasson, Director of Animal Services who chairs the ordinance review workgroup. “In the past, animal shelters were ‘the pound.’ There was little emphasis on prevention, on community-based solutions, and on lifesaving programs. The proposed ordinance revisions are intended to align with the new ways of thinking and to help the County work with our partners and with our community to ensure contemporary, efficient, and accessible animal services in Sonoma County.”

Ordinance review is also identified as a priority in the Sonoma County Animal Services Action Plan. The plan was created by the Animal Services Partnership, a group comprising animal service stakeholders from throughout the county seeking to collaborate on high-level goals. 

To conduct the ordinance review, the Partnership organized a workgroup, which has been meeting since September, to identify improvements that will help increase access to services, enhance partnership among animal shelter and animal rescue organizations, streamline response to nuisance issues such as barking dogs, and provide greater clarity by establishing standards of care.

A key objective of the ordinance review process is to recommend revisions that support the Partnership’s target of increasing the countywide aggregate live release (adoptions, returns to owners, and transfers to rescues) of animals from all shelters to 95 percent by 2015.

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