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County to take over city animal-control work

Madera County and the City of Madera have entered into an agreement to change the way they care for stray animals and determine who polices Courthouse Park.

Under the agreement, the city will pay the county $150,000 a year for animal control services annually until July 1, 2021. At that time, the annual cost every fiscal year thereafter will be subject to a 5 percent cost of living allowance increase.

Meanwhile, the city will take over the policing of Courthouse Park — more or less in the center of the city — a service valued at $60,000 annually to the county.

This settlement comes several years after suggestions had been made that the county take over all animal control services, while the city paid the county for the animal-control services conducted in the city.

Past city councils have been reluctant to relieve the city of animal control authority because of a certain amount of turf jealousy and a sensitivity to cost. Past police chiefs didn’t want to give up the authority or the money in their budgets, and the city councils didn’t want to pay the county to patrol the city for stray animals, animals on the loose, dead animals and animals considered dangerous to people and other critters.

But this new arrangement will be comprehensive, and will include impounds, intakes and quarantines, boarding, adoptions, euthanasia, returns to owners, rescues, disposing of deceased animals, licenses, microchipping, owner relinquishments and spay-and-neuter services.

The new arrangement will lower the city’s animal services costs $25,000 from the $175,000 the city had been paying before.

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