Stephanie Gomes — President, Board of Directors — Humane Society of the North Bay
Vallejo is not in first place anymore – and it’s wonderful news!
For many years, Vallejo was in the unenviable top spot of sending the highest number of homeless animals to the Solano County shelter. This year, for the first time, we’ve dropped our numbers below the two other largest cities in the County.
This time last year, the City of Vallejo, Solano County and the Humane Society of the North Bay (HSNB) started on this journey to create a new model and a new public-private partnership in Solano County – and the numbers show it’s working.
While this is great financial news for the City (it costs $249 per animal that is sent to the County shelter), these extraordinary adoption and “return to owner” rates have outpaced the revenues HSNB has to care for this many animals. In addition, our aging facility and equipment and the ever-rising cost of utilities continue to create financial challenges that could ultimately affect the ability of the shelter to stay open.
When HSNB’s Board of Directors almost completely turned over in 2014, we were left with no records of real numbers from the past to help us project into the future. The City didn’t even have the data from past years. Now we have real numbers. And while we’ve proven how successful we can be, we have also proven that it costs a lot of money to run a shelter that saves the lives of so many animals. And unfortunately, as a private, non-profit shelter not supported by the state or national organizations, our income is not matching our expenses.
So its time for our community to gather for an open discussion of Vallejo’s pet overpopulation problem and the rising costs of caring for our community’s homeless animals. We want to start a dialogue about how we can continue to build on this newly created success — and how we can afford to do so.
We are inviting the public to a “town hall” meeting on Monday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Joseph Room in the JFK Library. HSNB will provide a presentation about what our organization is (and isn’t), the services we provide to the community, and the costs of doing business. Solano County Sheriff Animal Control will be presenting information on their work, as well as the City of Vallejo, which is at the intersection of our collective efforts. The community will also have an opportunity to ask questions about this important life-saving work we are all doing.
I am confident that if we work together, we can fix HSNB’s side of this new model and continue to increase adoptions, reunite owners with their lost pets, promote more spaying and neutering to prevent more homeless pets – and save taxpayer dollars by doing so.