City Stays With Animal Friends of Valleys for Field Services

The City of Menife will continue to use Animal Friends of the Valleys of Wildomar for animal con...

The City of Menife will continue to use Animal Friends of the Valleys of Wildomar for animal control services.
Through a recent vote of the Menifee City Council, animal control field services in the city will continue to be handled by Animal Friends of the Valleys of Wildomar.

By a 4-1 vote at its July 2 meeting, the City Council approved a three-year contract for $695,946 with Animal Friends of the Valleys, which provides animal control services for several area communities. The facility has a spay and neuter program, allows residents to drop off stray animals at a night drop-off area after hours, and provides many other services at its facility on Mission Trail in Wildomar.

The approved contract calls for AFV to provide the following services:

-- Two animal control officers on duty five days a week, eight hours per day.
-- After-hours calls, including nights, weekends and holidays.
-- Administrative costs, including complaint resolution and meetings attendance, at an additional rate of $60 per hour.
-- Two animal control vehicles.
-- Pick-up and transfer of livestock.
-- AFV licensing, of which AFC retains $6 of each dog license sold.

The county's proposal called for a three-year contract of $619,038. It included similar field services, plus 400 hours of overtime included in the total cost.

Before discussion of the animal field services, council members unanimously approved a three-year contract with Riverside County for sheltering of animals at its new facility in San Jacinto (left). Menifee has had a temporary agreement with that facility since the city was notified a few months ago that the Ramona Humane Society shelter would no longer be available. Animal Friends of the Valleys does not provide long-term sheltering.

That contract calls for the city to pay $168,654 per year to Riverside County to have stray animals housed at the San Jacinto facility.

About 20 people spoke during the public comments section of the next agenda item, which involved whether the city would continue to contract for animal field services with Animal Friends of the Valleys, with which it has contracted since 2010, or switch to County animal control.

Public testimony was pretty much split 50-50 on which facility should provide animal field services to the city. Some praised the condition of the county's new facility, which opened in October. Others had similar praise for the AFV facility and cited positive experiences with animal pick-ups.

Council member Greg August, who served on an ad hoc committee with council member Wallace Edgerton on this issue, voted in favor of AFV.

"Whatever we decide is far less ideal than having our own shelter in the city," August said. "I have called other cities about their experiences with the county and have heard no glaring deficiencies. That said, my recommendation is to keep AFV. If we leave AFV, the confusion of residents over animal control will be greatly exacerbated. Animals are turned into AFV now, and that should continue."

Edgerton differed, casting the lone dissenting vote after saying, "I don't believe there's a huge difference between the two. However, I have heard of two incidents in the last week involving AFV. My vote would be to go with the county."

Mayor Scott Mann joined August, John Denver and Tom Fuhrman in voting to approve the contract with the county.

"I am also concerned about the confusion issue for residents," Mann said. "The confusion was created when we switched from Ramona to the county for sheltering services. I don't want to add to that with another switch for field services. I voted originally for AFV in 2010 and I cast my vote for them again."

For information on services provided by Animal Friends of the Valleys, call 951-674-0618 or visit its website.


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