The city of Santa Maria has shelved a proposal to bring animal control services in-house and will instead continue to contract out sheltering and animal control to the county.
In January, the city announced that it was accepting bids for sheltering services and aimed to have animal control performed by city employees in an effort to reduce costs.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services has a contract with Santa Maria that will cost around $800,000 during the 2019-20 year.
The Santa Maria area keeps Santa Barbara County Animal Services officers busy.
Recreation and Parks Department Director Alex Posada said in March, while the city was still soliciting bids for sheltering, that the cost of the county contract had risen substantially over time and the city felt the increases were becoming unsustainable.
City officials aimed to get a contract for sheltering at a cost of around $600,000 a year.
On Thursday, Santa Maria Public Information Officer Mark van de Kamp said the city decided to stick with its County Animal Services contract.
County Animal Services officers responded to around 16,000 calls during the 2017-18 fiscal year. During that time, around 5,300 calls came from within the city of Santa Maria, including 348 emergency night calls.
Calls for animal service include stray dogs and cats, injured wildlife, dead animals and other incidents.
In addition to Santa Maria, the cities of Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang, Guadalupe and Goleta have a contract with the county for animal control and sheltering services.
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