Costa Mesa to form committee to review animal services

In a bid to increase community involvement, Costa Mesa City Council members voted unanimously this week to form a committee to review matters related to local animal services.

The Animal Services Committee, a brainchild of freshly installed Mayor Sandy Genis, will have seven members, five of whom are Costa Mesa residents and two who have expertise in animal care.

The panel will promote pet licensing, plan animal-related community events such as adoptions and clinics, provide recommendations on how to improve city animal services and assist the Costa Mesa Police Department in advertising volunteer opportunities.

Establishing the committee “will allow for representatives from the community to have an opportunity to continually evaluate animal services provided by the city of Costa Mesa,” police Lt. Victor Bakkila said Tuesday.

Costa Mesa has contracted with the Orange County Humane Society for animal-care services since 2009.

The city’s stray animals are taken to the Humane Society’s shelter in Huntington Beach. The facility also serves the city of Garden Grove.

Last month, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission voted unanimously to permit the organization to develop and operate a new local shelter at 642 Baker St.

Some residents, though, have urged the city to sever ties with the Humane Society, alleging that its existing shelter is unsanitary and unsafe and that the organization lacks transparency.

Genis and Councilman John Stephens have said they plan to put the proposed new shelter up for council review. The item is expected to appear on a meeting agenda soon.

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