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Healdsburg Animal Shelter shutting down after 50 years

  • Healdsburg Animal Shelter (PD FILE, 2011)

Directors of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter announced Monday that after more than 50 years of operation, the facility will be closing its doors by the end of the month.

Board members said they had no choice but to cease animal care control and care after an urgent public appeal for funds failed to raise any significant donations.

“When the board noted the lack of positive response to its appeal for funds ... and evaluated prospective future courses of action, it reluctantly concluded that closing down these functions is an unavoidable necessity,” the board said in a parting statement.

Directors said they have been working with the city and other animal care facilities to assure a smooth transition “with the highest priority assigned to providing safe and humane transfer of all animals out of the shelter's custody.”

Board Chairman Art Feagles said there are probably 40 dogs and cats at the shelter now.

“The animals aren't going to get caught in the squeeze. They will all be well cared for,” he said in an interview Monday evening.

It's likely that Sonoma County Animal Care and Control — at least initially — will take over the shelter's responsibility for handling strays, injured, vicious and unwanted animals in the city, as well as adoptions and licensing.

North County Supervisor Mike McGuire said earlier Monday at a board meeting that the county should be prepared to take over those functions. The City of Healdsburg had paid the shelter $115,000 annually for animal control services.

Last week, Feagles said the shelter had enough money to stay open until September.

But the decision was made to close sooner, he said, because “we have to stop the bleeding and use the cash for a wind-down period.”

The nine, full-time employees will be laid off, he said, adding that they were in agreement with the decision.

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