Animal care services already a bargain

I have volunteered at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter for 16 years, and am currently on the board of the Santa Barbara County Animal Care Foundation. Reading the article on the City of Santa Maria and animal control services, it is clear city officials have no idea how complicated it is to offer 24/7 services every day of the year.

Where will they house the pigs, goats, peacocks, chinchillas, horses, parrots and other animals besides dogs and cats that come in? Where is their veterinary clinic to spay, neuter and vaccinate animals? Who do they have rescue partnerships with, to sustain the current no-kill status achieved by the County shelters? How will they serve homeless pet owners, who rely on their dogs for protection and comfort? Who in the Recreation and Parks division is a behavioral specialist, who knows how to assess whether an incoming German shepherd is showing common fear aggression or is truly vicious and not adoptable?

Will the parks staff be willing to enter fire and flooded hazard areas to rescue everything from chickens to horses? How about the human side, such as empathizing with the despondent elderly who must surrender beloved companions to enter assisted living? Will Alex Posada and his staff take home the 80-plus litters of underage kittens that enter the current shelter annually, and foster them until they are adoptable?

This list could go on for pages, but I think the strangest idea is that current animal control services are too expensive. For about $7.25 per person annually, the 108,000 residents of Santa Maria receive 8,760 hours of services from experienced, well trained animal control officers who have vehicles, equipment, facilities, and support staff already in place.

I don't like paying taxes any more than the next person, but current animal control services are already a bargain. I don't believe the City of Santa Maria has the capacity to provide all of these services and more in a humane, ethical way for less money.

Nancy Meddings

Santa Maria

Paving paradise to put up a parking lot

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got

'Till it's gone

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot"

— Big Yellow Taxi

This seems to be the plan of California State Parks' proposed southern dune buggy entrance at Oso Flaco. Their proposal: 225 campsites, a "kids' practice track" (whatever that means), and a staging area for 100 off-highway vehicles to traverse what is now a panoramic vista of dunes and environmentally sensitive habitat area.

What are they thinking? Yes, Oceano is now bearing the assault of the off-highway vehicles, but opening up Oso Flaco will move that mayhem south and probably won't alleviate Oceano's problem.

At Oso Flaco there are no amenities, no supermarkets or gas stations nearby other than on Tefft Street in Nipomo. What's more, this is a vibrant farming area in which RVs would have to traverse roads that include lumbering farm vehicles and 18-wheelers taking produce to market. Add to that a dangerous Union Pacific rail crossing on Oso Flaco Road, which is a disaster just waiting to happen with the increased traffic.

While "on paper" this seems to be a viable plan, especially when there is a plan for an expanded boardwalk area, but in reality ... they want to "pave paradise and put up a parking lot."

Laurance Shinderman



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