Sun editorial: Shutting Tahoe Vista shelter best for animals | SierraSun.com

Sun editorial: Shutting Tahoe Vista shelter best for animals

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Sierra Sun editorial staff.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors made the right decision two weeks ago by voting to shutter the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter.

While it will be sad to see the 42-year-old building at 849 Shelter Road close its doors on Sept. 1, we don’t feel there was another viable choice, both in terms of immediate needs for the animals currently sheltered, and for those that will need assistance down the road.

At the same time, we’d like to applaud the hundreds of North Shore residents who helped fuel the grassroots group Friends of Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter’s efforts to save the building. From all the meetings with local groups and officials, to the bevy of fundraisers held this spring and summer, the community collaboration was commendable.

However, we feel the compromise the group developed to save the shelter wasn’t the best solution for all parties, specifically for the following two reasons:

1. While the proposed $3 million, 3,500-square-foot shelter would be designed to meet current Humane Society standards, imposing a parcel tax against homeowners in eastern Placer County to help build it isn’t the answer, as it would be an added economic hardship for residents that are already paying off various bond measures — for example, most recently the school district’s Measure E.

2. It likely would take several months, if not a few years, for the new shelter to be built — all the while, North Shore animals would have to stay at the current neglected facility that’s not up to Humane Society code.

Instead, the county’s partnership with the town of Truckee means animals throughout North Tahoe and Truckee will be treated to top-notch facilities at the nearly new animal shelter at Stevens Lane. Further, the agreement would end up saving money for Placer County and its taxpayers.

And while it may be an inconvenience to travel the handful of miles from the North and West shores to Truckee, the agreement takes that into account — should a resident’s animal be picked up by a county animal control officer and the owner is unable to travel to Truckee, the county will return the animal for free after all vaccinations, licensing and microchip information is updated — which is to be applauded.

In a perfect world, there would be shelters in both counties. However, given the circumstances of a nearly dilapidated building, coupled with the potential for a multimillion-dollar hit to the county’s capital budget, we feel this partnership is the best solution for the animals and the taxpayers.