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Shelter in talks with Costa Mesa

Stray animals in Costa Mesa were taken to the Orange County Humane Society in Huntington Beach until complaints about the animal shelter’s quality prompted the city to contract with Irvine Animal Care Shelter in 2007.

Now the city of Irvine has said it can no longer accommodate the roughly 1,800 animals per year its shelter has to process on behalf of Costa Mesa because Irvine is growing, and it needs all of its shelter capacity for local animals.

This recent announcement left Costa Mesa searching for a place to house its stray dogs and cats. After considering bids from a few alternatives, the race is down to two shelters, according to Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch, and the city might once again contract with the shelter in Huntington Beach.

Since Costa Mesa ended its contract with the OC Humane Society, the shelter has rebuilt its structures and solved some of the problems brought up during the 2007 controversy.


Hatch and the supervisor of Costa Mesa’s animal control division, Sgt. Bryan Glass, toured the shelter recently, and both reported that their facilities were significantly better than a few recent complaints claim.

“That place is all brand new. The [operator] really invested in changing the OC Humane Society,” Glass said. “You can tell that he addressed some of the complaints from before.”

The Huntington Beach facility is advantageous because it’s so close to Costa Mesa, Hatch said. The main competitor, the county’s shelter in the city of Orange, is much farther away, which would mean that animal control officers and pet owners would have to spend more time driving animals back and forth. The county shelter, however, offers more services and has a large, high-quality infrastructure, Hatch said. Cost is also a factor, but contracts have not been finalized with either operator.

According to Glass, the amount of strays being picked up in Costa Mesa has gotten out of control, making it more difficult for Irvine Animal Care Shelter to house them.


People don’t spay and neuter their pets, and the animals’ offspring are left on the streets, Glass said.

A few recent complaints have been made by people who aren’t happy with the idea of contracting with the Huntington Beach shelter again.

The Costa Mesa City Council will make a final call in December or January, Hatch said. Until then, Costa Mesa strays will still be taken to Irvine.

ALAN BLANK may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at