Tag Archives: Jill Posener
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.)
While most new structures built using city bonds are decorated with public art, Berkeley’s new $12.4 million animal shelter is not. City staff skipped out on the municipally-mandated public art process during construction and the reasons why remain difficult to pin down.
Since the project’s inception in 2002, shelter plans ran into a range of obstacles, from difficulty finding an appropriate site to a series of cost overruns. As a result, said Deputy City Manager William Rogers, the city decided not to set aside $142,500 of its budget for public art, despite a Berkeley ordinance that requires municipal projects to do just that.
Others familiar with the project said the decision not to include public art in the shelter was due to a failure to put the proper language in the bond measure that funded construction. Whether that was an oversight or an intentional decision to ensure flexibility in the project budget is unclear. … Continue reading »
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 »
In February, some people were sitting on a wall in Berkeley when one of them jumped off and accidentally landed on the leg of a puppy, HarleyQuin.
Shadow, the street name for HarleyQuin’s owner, rushed the dog to a nearby vet but didn’t have the $60 it would take to have her examined. Shadow left the office and hoped for the best, but HarleyQuin’s leg continued to swell. Shadow didn’t know how he would help his dog until he connected with a new Berkeley nonprofit Paw Fund, which helps homeless and low-income people provide medical care for their pets.
Paw Fund, which was started by Jill Posener, a photographer and former Animal Care Commissioner, arranged for a doctor to put HarleyQuin’s leg in a cast. It also paid the $700 doctor’s bill, although Shadow eventually contributed $210.
Berkeley has dozens of homeless youths like Shadow and many of them have dogs.
“It’s common for people without homes to have dogs for companionship, for warmth, and for protection,” said Posener. “For many people living on the street, their animal is their family, the one creature in their immediate circle who they can depend on to love them unconditionally.”
But since these youths often move from city to city and have to scrounge for food and a place to sleep, they often don’t prioritize their animal’s health, said Posener. As a result, many of their dogs and cats haven’t gotten their vaccines, are riddled with fleas, and produce litter after litter, exacerbating the number of unwanted pets in the region that eventually are euthanized. … Continue reading »