The San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus will be shut down in less than two weeks because of budget constraints, and stray, aggressive or lost pets will in the future be impounded at other facilities, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services announced Thursday.
"Every county department faced budget cuts and difficult decisions," agency Director Julie Bank said. "We didn't want to close the San Jacinto shelter, but the budget pinch means we will be eliminating positions. We cannot operate that shelter after staffing levels continue to be eliminated."
The shelter officially will be shuttered on July 13, though officials said it may still be activated for emergencies, such as during wildfires, when it will be turned into a temporary repository for evacuated pets.
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The Department of Animal Services was among nearly three dozen county agencies forced to absorb a 10% cut to appropriations as the county contends with a $100 million gap resulting from the public health regulations that closed large swaths of the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Blythe Animal Shelter was also initially on the closure list, but some funding was secured during the 2020-21 budget hearings last month to keep it going.
The nonprofit Ramona Humane Society has overseen animal control in the cities of San Jacinto and Hemet for years, but most impounded pets from those locations were taken to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus.
They will now be transferred to the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.
Dogs, cats and other creatures retrieved east of the Anza Valley and Banning, as well as throughout the Coachella Valley, will continue to be taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
Lost or abandoned pets found in Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula and surrounding locations will be taken to the Animal Friends of the Valleys shelter in Wildomar.
More information about pet transfers can be found at https://www.rcdas.org/index.php/shelters/surrounding-shelters.