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Edited on: 07/02/2017 at 6:29PM

San Diego Animal Shelter Workers Rally Against Potential Outsourcing Of Their Jobs

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http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/may/08/san-diego-animal-shelter-workers-rally-against-pot/ Some staff and volunteers who work at San Diego County's animal services department rallied Monday to protest the potential outsourcing of their jobs. San Diego County is considering hiring either the city of Chula Vista or the San Diego Humane Society to take over its animal services department, including the county animal shelter. The move comes amidst criticism from volunteers at the shelter who have said the department is poorly run and euthanizes more animals than it should. RELATED: San Diego County Mulls Outsourcing Animal Services Amidst ‘Getting To Zero’ Policy Criticism But the animal services staff, who are represented by the union SEIU Local 221, want to protect their jobs and say employees of the San Diego Humane Society do not have enough training to take over animal control duties. Kathy Cleveland, a lieutenant with animal services, said the Humane Society is in the "infancy stage" of animal control. "By outsourcing animal services, the county is creating a monopoly with no competition," she said. "It's not like outsourcing IT or the trash. There are lots of companies that do those things. There's only one Humane Society and then there's us." She said that monopoly could allow the Humane Society to raise its prices when the outsourcing contract is up in five years. A spokeswoman for the Humane Society countered in a statement that the nonprofit has been working since 1942, "to investigate crimes involving the abuse and neglect of animals." "Our officers have received extensive training in all aspects of criminal investigation, animal handling skills and technical rescue techniques, and they are certified by the state of California as humane law enforcement officers that allow them to enforce animal cruelty laws anywhere in California," she said. She added that the Humane Society provides animal control for Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, Poway, San Marcos, and Imperial Beach. Bobby Keith, an animal shelter attendant, got choked up when he talked about his job. He said for 18 years he has been working on "how to help that animal that comes in scared, hurt, injured. And we're trying to make that animal to where it can be adoptable." The animal shelter was criticized by volunteers last year for putting down animals despite its "Getting to Zero" policy that says no adoptable animals will be euthanized. It was also called out for making it too hard to adopt animals—for example, until recently the shelter was not open on Sundays when most people are off work. The county is expected to make a decision on outsourcing in the coming months. If it moves forward with outsourcing, six cities—San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Santee and Solana Beach—each would have to find their own animal control providers, according to county spokesman Michael Workman.

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