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Menifee to consolidate animal services

Menifee City Council voted 4-1, with Councilman August dissenting, to move forward with contract negotiations and to work with the Animal Friends of the Valleys Joint Powers Authority, that includes the County of Riverside and city members Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and Lake Elsinore, to join the JPA and request AFV to provide both animal field services and sheltering services for the City of Menifee.

The city has contracted with AFV for animal field services and the County of Riverside for sheltering services since 2010. The current animal service agreements with both AFV and the county were entered into in 2017 for a term of three years. The agreement expires on June 30.

The agenda item was brought forward for discussion at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Matt Liesemeyer. “This was about continuity of services for our residents, and making it easier to reunite our pets with our residents,“ said Liesemeyer. “Riverside County staff have the space, as does AFV to shelter our animals, and both entities provide great services, it was purely about logistics, having a seat at the table to make decisions for services for our residents, and making it easier to reunite families.”

The council further elaborated and cited their reasons for considering combining services into one agency to assist residents with confusion in locating their animals with the shelter located in San Jacinto, and AFV located in Wildomar.

“Currently, residents are left to drive to San Jacinto for their pets, and should the county close the shelter this budget cycle, it would leave city residents exposed to driving to Jurupa Valley, well over 50 minutes away, as the
county is also looking to close a multimillion dollar budget deficit.” said Councilwoman Lesa Sobek.

The cost of services will be negotiated by city staff and will be brought back to the council for formal approval. Council gave direction to negotiate with AFV to maintain consistency with the draft budget proposal presented by city staff for the fiscal year 20/21 budget, asking for consideration of an additional $30,000 reduction from the cost comparison presented.

City staff stated that they will discuss with the JPA this month, and will work to bring back a formal agreement to the council by end of June. Should the agreement not be executed by end of June, AFV Board of Directors President Kris Anderson stated, “We will commit to working with the city to house their animals until the agreements for the JPA and service are executed.”

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