San Jose officials are calling for an objective and independent assessment of San Jose Animal Care and Services or SJACS amid community concerns regarding animal care, as well as its engagement with rescue partners and volunteers.
San Jose's Animal Care Center has experienced years of staffing challenges and is caring for a record number of animals amid a nationwide shelter crisis, Mayor Matt Mahan said in a news release Friday.
In response, Mayor Mahan, alongside Vice Mayor Rosemary Kamei and Councilmembers Bien Doan, Peter Ortiz and Omar Torres, issued a memorandum calling for an objective and independent assessment of SJACS.
“Our animals can't speak for themselves - but luckily we have dedicated staff, volunteers, rescue partners and advocates who speak for them,” Mahan said in a statement. “This audit will add another voice to the conversation - an independent voice to evaluate concerns, see how our shelter stacks up against industry standards, and make sure we are providing the best care possible while our animals wait for their forever home.”
The goal of the proposed audit is to understand where improvements can be made, and ideally result in the shelter becoming more responsive the needs of the community and providing the best care possible to the animals it serves, the mayor's office said.
Vice Mayor Kamei also said the audit will ensure that the public can have confidence in the services SJACS provides and that it is able to respond to the present "crisis" at the shelter "judiciously."
“As we address record-high numbers of animals in our shelter, it's crucial to evaluate our operations against industry standards, improve our animal licensing, and enhance our collaboration with rescue partners,” Councilmember Omar Torres said in a statement Friday. “This audit is a step towards making SJACS the best it can be for our furry friends and our community.”
Following record adoptions in 2020 due to Shelter in Place orders, SJACS is currently caring for an equally high record number of animals, said Councilmembers Bien Doan and Peter Ortiz, adding that the city's animal shelter is currently housing an estimated 715 animals and exceeding capacity.
The SJACS memo will be brought before the city's Rules and Open Government Committee tomorrow.