Newport OKs contract for Huntington's animal shelter

Stray pets from Newport Beach will soon be found in Huntington Beach, now that the Newport Beach City Council approved a contract for a new animal shelter Tuesday.

The Orange County Humane Society, a privately run facility on Newland Street, was approved unanimously among a number of proposals from nearby shelters.

"I was impressed with the services they provide there," said Councilman Steve Rosansky, who co-hosts a public access television show that advertises animals up for adoption and recently visited OCHS.

The shelter already houses strays from Costa Mesa and Westminster.

Newport's previous shelter provider, Dover Shores Pet Care Center in Costa Mesa, had been housing Newport animals since 1991. Its owner, Bruce Bauersfeld, wanted more fees from the city, so the city decided to solicit bids, according to city officials.

Both the OCHS facility and Dover euthanize animals, but the OCHS shelter has a higher rate as a percent of its population — about 30% compared with about 9% at Dover — according to Rob Houston, assistant to the city manager.

One reason for the low rate at Dover is because adoption and rescue advocates save many of the animals, especially feral cats, officials have said.

Mindy Miller operates Miss Kitty's Rescue in Costa Mesa and has been rescuing cats from the Dover shelter for years. At the meeting, she said she was concerned that some of the OCHS cages were small, but she was otherwise happy with the new facility.

"I was pleased with many improvements with what we have had in the past," Miller said.

OCHS officials will allow these volunteers and pet adoption advocates to operate at its facility, according to the contract the city has negotiated. Also, it will give the city two days notice to find another option to euthanasia.

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