Local News

Friday, Sep 06 2013 11:50 AM

Animal Control dispels rumors of impending euthanizations

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    The city of Bakersfield has given the Kern County Animal Control Department until Sept. 30 to move out of the shelter.

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

A factually challenged tweet making the rounds on celebrity Twitter feeds has spawned a misleading national media story that states Kern County is preparing to kill hundreds of animals when it is forced to find a new shelter location at the end of this month.

TiK ToK crooner Ke$ha and author/blogger Kelly Oxford posted photos of similarly written statements that called for people to flock to Kern County and save animals from the South Mount Vernon Avenue animal shelter.

Kern County Animal Control shelter has "over 700 dogs and cats that need to be rescued by September 30th or they will all be put down," the statement read.

London-based entertainment media outlet World Entertainment News Network grabbed the Ke$ha tweet and ran with a story that added more inaccurate information.

Television station and entertainment news websites from Los Angeles to Indianapolis picked up the WENN piece and ran with it.

"The Kern County Animal Control facility in Bakersfield will shut its doors forever later this month, and the TiK ToK hitmaker has joined the volunteers who are scrambling to rehome the shelter's abandoned cats and dogs," the story read.

Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard, who can't quite match Ke$ha's stable of 3.4 million Twitter followers, fired back on her Facebook account:

"This is not true. We have heard today that a rumor has taken hold nationally that Kern County Animal Control is closing and killing all the animals. Both 'facts' are incorrect. We are moving, not closing. And we don't want to euthanize any animals and are planning to take them all with us if we cannot find adoptable homes or rescues prior to the end of this month."

While Woodard expressed her hope that the move itself wouldn't cost any animals their lives, under normal operations the county has experienced an average 62.6 percent euthanization rate for the past seven years and killed around 20,000 animals annually.

The county continues to take in animals and — if this year's pace of intake matches that of 2012 — around 3,000 additional animals will come into the shelter in the month of September.

Department officials emphasized that they continue to do everything they can to get as many animals as possible into private homes or rescue organizations before they are subjected to a stressful move to a facility the county has yet to identify.

Adoption fees are usually $40 to $50 for cats and $75 to $85 for dogs but Animal Control has dropped them to $5 for cats and $15 for dogs.

And rescue groups won't have to pay fees for micro-chipping or vaccinating animals they take.

Animal Control Marketing and Promotions Associate Maggie Kalar said 320 animals have been adopted and 200 have been rescued since Aug. 21 when the city notified the county it needed to leave the shelter by Oct. 1.

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