Get moving on shelter

Grand Jury report underlines its ‘appalling’ condition

Add the 2009-10 Butte County Grand Jury to the list of people and groups who believe the Butte Humane Society animal shelter in Chico is terribly inadequate. In its report, released Friday (June 25), the jury notes that the facility “is in great need of attention,” that the building is “old and in need of replacement,” and that “the animals are crowded, particularly the cats.”

As a result, the report continues, “the facilities are difficult to keep clean and do not have separate intake and adoption areas, making it appalling.”

Appalling. That’s a word not often found in grand jury reports.

The jury recommends that the city sell the current property and invest in another, larger site that is more visible to the public and has room for a spay-and-neuter clinic. “We strongly recommend new facilities be a number one project for the City of Chico,” the report states.

The cash-strapped city, however, remains committed to the current site, with plans to rehab and expand it from 6,000 to 15,000 square feet. In the meantime, shelter officials are planning to move the cattery to another building down the road that also has room for a spay clinic.

We believe the grand jury’s suggestion is the best course of action, long-term. But we also understand the financial problems the city is facing and prefer the second option to doing nothing. As CN&R reporter Stacey Kennelly writes in Newslines this week (see link above), the shelter is jam-packed with animals these days, especially cats, causing even some healthy litters to be euthanized.

The question now is how soon the BHS and the city can put their plan in action. The sooner the better, obviously.