Tag Archives: Berkeley Animal Care Services

Government

Berkeley animal shelter budget raises questions

The animal shelter's grand opening celebration takes place at 1 Bolivar Drive on Saturday. Scroll to the bottom of the story for details. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Community supporters of Berkeley’s municipal animal shelter have been raising alarm bells about the shelter’s budget for the coming fiscal year — and their concerns about the city’s lack of budgeting transparency are broadly shared.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts in July is $1.69 million, which is comparable to what the shelter ultimately got in the fiscal year that ends this month, City Manager Christine Daniel told city officials by email May 27.

But shelter supporters say that amount has not been enough to cover operating costs, and fear the shelter may be forced to close one day a week or more as a result. They say the shelter has struggled to cover increased utility costs in its new, larger space, which has a sophisticated air filtration system to cut down on the spread of diseases. Supporters say, too, that services the city used to pay for, including a spay-and-neuter program for low-income residents as well as training for pit bull owners, now must be funded through community donations.

The budget has come before council and the public several times since May 20, and is expected to be approved next week.

According to city spokesman Matthai Chakko, a detailed budget that would show utility costs for the Dona Spring Municipal Animal Shelter is not available: “The budget doesn’t have line items to that degree,” he said via email. Chakko said animal shelter director Kate O’Connor was not available last week for an interview. He said the shelter is “fully funded,” but did not respond to questions about whether the shelter might have to reduce its hours. (The facility is currently open seven days a week.)

The lack of transparency has been a bone of contention for shelter supporters, particularly those who worked to help build the new shelter and fund some of its services. … Continue reading »

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Possible explosion causes fire under I-80 University Avenue overpass in West Berkeley

This photo, taken from the Berkeley hills, shows the extent of the smoke caused by the fire. Photo: danieleran
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UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.: Police activity near the University Avenue and Second Street fire has ended and all roadways are open, according to a Berkeley Police Department Nixle alert.

UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Police and fire investigators continue to search through the site of the fire to determine its cause and whether it is suspicious. There is no evidence so far that the fire was caused by drug activities or a meth lab, as has been reported elsewhere, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The fire happened in a fenced-off storage area under the University Avenue overpass, and a couple of people were evacuated from the area by police before the fire was extinguished, she said. Coats confirmed there was a homeless encampment at the site, and that it is believed the fire started with an explosion. Evidence of drugs had not been found at the time of writing.

ORIGINAL STORY: A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at around 2:45 p.m., adjacent to the University Avenue Interstate-80 overpass in West Berkeley, is being investigated as possibly having been triggered by an explosion, authorities said.

The fire, which burned several recycling bins, was under control by 3:15 p.m., according to Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong, who said it took crews 18 minutes to do so. … Continue reading »

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Nature

Update: Unhappy ending for crow rescued in Berkeley

Crows in flight. Before they took to the air, they were calling to one another and hanging out in pairs in bare trees. Location: Fairfax. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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A city animal control officer rescued an injured crow Thursday afternoon after it got tangled in a piece of string and stuck in a tree 40 feet off the ground in West Berkeley.

Workers in an office building called the city Thursday at roughly 2:10 p.m. after noticing the bird struggling but unable to take flight, said John Kindle, an animal control officer for the city.

The Berkeley Fire Department responded to the scene, at 700 Heinz St., along with Kindle, to assess the situation.

When Kindle arrived, he used binoculars to take a closer look. He saw the crow high up in the tree with what appeared to be string tied to a branch and wrapped around one of its claws. … Continue reading »

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After a decade, Berkeley celebrates a new animal shelter

Kate O'Connor, who runs Berkeley Animal Care Services, says the quiet atmosphere, airy and light spaces and new lab facilites are among the highlights at the new site. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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More than 10 years after Berkeley voters approved a $7.2 million bond to build a new home to care for abandoned and sick animals, the Dona Spring Municipal Animal Shelter will hold its grand opening Saturday — costing $5 million more than the original budget and in a smaller space than city officials originally envisioned.

The shelter, which is projected to cost nearly $12.4 million when all is said and done, opened in November after more than a decade in development, as an appropriate site proved elusive, and the venue that ultimately was selected posed a range of challenges during design and construction. … Continue reading »

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Adopt a Pet: Gracie, a wisp of a pooch looking for a home

Gracie
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By Joel Lahrman

Gracie is one of the smallest dogs to have arrived at our shelter. She can’t weigh more than three or four pounds. But this little wisp of a pooch is leggy and elegant, and is comfortable in most any element.

Despite her slight build, she loves to play with dogs of all sizes. She spends her days hanging out in the lobby at the shelter, playing with the staff’s dogs and entertaining shelter visitors.

Of course, she also loves people. She is a good lap dog, and enjoys curling up in the nearest lap. That being said, she does enjoy her walks as well. But the moment her walker stops to sit on the bench or the grass, up pops Gracie and before you know it she has made herself at home in whatever crevice she can find. … Continue reading »

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Deer charging people, dogs in the Berkeley hills

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Violent crime has been decreasing in Berkeley in recent years — that is, when the perpetrators in question are humans. Wildlife is another matter. Two Berkeleyside readers recently reported incidents of deer charging at pedestrians in the Berkeley hills in late May. Animal Services confirms there have been multiple cases.

On May 29, a deer charged several times at a hiker at the intersection of Oak Path and Oak Street, said Berkeley Path Wanderers Association President Keith Skinner. The deer left the scene only when another person and a dog arrived.

The victim of the attack “called Animal Control and was told to avoid the area for the next few months, but it doesn’t seem that the city is taking any other precautionary steps to alert people,” wrote Skinner in an email to Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Adopt a Pet: Paco, a mellow, happy dog looking for a home

Paco
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By Shelley Carlisle

Que Pasa? Me, that is: I’m up for adoption! Let’s celebrate freedom together this Cinco de Mayo You, me, the couch, a Corona? (well maybe not a beer, but some yummy authentic chicken snacks would be awesome).

My real name is Paco, but most of my people at the shelter call me “happy boy,” “super nice guy,” “lap dog,” “love bug,” “mellow guy,” “belly-up dog,” and “lazy bones!” Even though I like to lay around and get belly rubs, I can also trot well behaved next to you if motivated by refreshing bay breezes, any kind of grass, and other doggie markings!

Every time I’m out on a walk, everyone stops to admire me, so suave and elegante. When you see my big ole’ head and silly grin, just think that there’s more of me to love and give kisses! My manners are pretty darn good too… after an hour training session of practicing my good “look,” “sit” and “down” (this is my natural state) and “leave it”, I’m ready for a looooong siesta, preferably with my head in your lap, and possibly with the right doggie girlfriend.  … Continue reading »

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Adopt a Pet: Waffles, a little cat as sweet as her name

waffles
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Do you like waffles? Who doesn’t, right? Golden, crunchy goodness topped with cream and fruit…mmm. Where was I? Right, Waffles. This darling little affectionate black cat is as sweet as her name, and is patiently waiting for you to give her a forever home.

You only have to look at her before her little motor starts running and she’s purring all over the place, and she loves to be brushed and sit in your lap. She also likes the hard stuff (catnip)!

She has recently started to show some love to other kitties, despite being a bit reticent at first, and so would do well either in an only-cat household, or sharing with a mellow, non-aggressive cat.

For more information about Waffles, call Berkeley Animal Care Services at (510) 981-6600, or for more photos, check out their Facebook page. Or why not come down to Berkeley Animal Care Services on Second St and see Waffles in the flesh? She’s waiting for you! … Continue reading »

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Adopt a Pet: Joey, goofy ball of fun and a good student

Photo: Nancy Rubin
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By Joel Lahrman

We’re not sure we can tell you what breed of dog Joey is, but we can tell you that he is a goofy ball of fun who has managed to show he can be a serious student as well.

Joey has now been at Berkeley Animal Care Services for over a year. What’s the hold-up? Unlike many dogs who become easily stressed at a shelter, Joey is very content. He is a volunteer favorite who gets a lot of walks, and he spends most afternoons in the shelter director’s office. But it is high time for him to find a home of his own.

Joey’s long stay at the shelter has given him plenty of time to learn all of his behavioral basics. He can sit, go down, stay, and “leave it”. But Joey is also a fun-loving dog who loves his playtime most of all. He enjoys chasing after tennis balls, and playing with the many dog friends he has made at the shelter. Afterwards, he will stare at you with his baby blue eyes and wag his tail until he gets a nice belly rub. … Continue reading »

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News

Free adoptions at Berkeley Animal Shelter this weekend

Rose cat for adoption
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By Julia Musto

This Saturday and Sunday only, all adoptions at the city’s Berkeley Animal Care Services shelter (BACS) will be free, as part of the organization’s annual “Adoptathon” matchmaker.

Adoptions will be free to qualified adopters, and the shelter will receive $500 for every dog or cat adopted, courtesy of Maddie’s Fund. (To qualify for a free adoption, people must have documentation proving home ownership, or a rental contract stating you can have pets.)

The shelter will also receive $1,000 for every adoption of a senior animal, or animal with a long-term medical condition.

This is the second year for the event and the second year BACS has participated, according  to BACS coordinator Amelia Funghi. “The event is a vehicle for adopting homeless animals in Contra Costa and Alameda counties and also a fundraiser for local shelters and rescue groups,” she said. … Continue reading »

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A year after fire, Berkeley animal shelter lands on its feet

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Against the back wall of the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society’s adoption room is a maze of cages, containing one lone cat. Magdalene, as she is called, is a black feline with patches of tan. She lies curled on a towel. When approached, she promptly rolls onto her back and paws the air, revealing a white underbelly.

Magdalene was found by a woman and brought to Berkeley Animal Care Services, the city’s animal shelter, two weeks ago, according to Valerie Mizuhara, the Humane Society’s Shelter Manager. At the time, the cat was extremely pregnant. Now, two faint blue lines on her stomach attest to the spay and surgery the Humane Society gave her to prevent “just one more unwanted litter,” from entering the world.

Magdalene sits up and emits a guttural purr. She is behaving so affectionately, Mizuhara says, because of residual pregnancy hormones in her system.

That Magdalene is the only cat in the room is a telling sign. It has been almost one year since a fire ravaged the nonprofit East Bay Humane Society nonprofit on May 20, 2010, killing 15 cats and wreaking $1.5 million worth of damage on the building. Most of the facilities remain condemned by the city, and the room that housed the cats is sealed with plastic and still smells eerily of smoke.

Since the fire, the shelter has spent $200,000 on rent and construction, according to interim Director Stephanie Erickson. It will be at least two years and potentially millions of dollars before the fire-damaged areas are completely rebuilt. … Continue reading »

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Non-profits

Low-cost pet vaccines Sunday

Low-cost vaccine clinic held at Berkeley Animal Care Services in October 2009. Photo by Patsy Slater
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The city’s animal shelter and the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society are teaming up to hold their second vaccine and microchip clinic this weekend. Vaccines for rabies, dog distemper and parvo (DHPP), dog kennel cough, and common cat infections (FVRCP), will be offered for $5 each.

Microchips, which provide permanent pet ID and help reunite lost pets and owners, will be available for $15. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The clinic will be … Continue reading »

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Events

Low-cost vaccine clinic for pets this Sunday

Dogtags
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This Sunday, as part of Animal Shelter Awareness month, a vaccine and microchipping clinic for cats and dogs will be held outside the city’s animal shelter.  Rabies, DHLPP, kennel cough, and FVRCP vaccines will be available for $10 each, but those in need will not be turned away for lack of funds. Microchips, which identify lost pets and help return them to their owners, will be available for $15, but this fee can also be waived for those in … Continue reading »

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