Pets In Need terminates contract with city

BY BRADEN CARTWRIGHT
Daily Post Staff Writer

Pets In Need is canceling its contract to operate the Palo Alto Animal Shelter following a police investigation into the deaths of seven puppies and a dispute with the city over improvements to the shelter on E. Bayshore Road.

Pets in Need will continue to provide animal services to the city for one year. The cancellation comes halfway
through a five-year, $3.4 million contract.

Palo Alto police issued misdemeanor citations on Oct. 26 to three Pets In Need employees, charging them with
animal cruelty and neglect. Police said they transported a litter of seven puppies in a van without air conditioning or water on Aug. 2, resulting in their deaths.

Executive Director Al Mollica has criticized the investigation to the police and his employees, but he didn’t mention it in his letter to City Manager Ed Shikada on Monday that canceled the animal services contract.

Kennels at issue

Instead, Mollica focused on the city’s “egregious failure” to replace the shelter’s rundown kennel house — a central part of the contract the two parties signed in 2019.

“The city has continually reneged on its contractual requirements and failed to address a contentious working relationship between some city staff and our employees,” Mollica said.

Mollica has also complained to the city about oversight from the police department’s animal control officers and having to take wildlife to the Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame.

The city was supposed to replace the kennel house by July 2020, according to the contract.

Shikada said in an email yesterday that the city has designed a new building but is short by $500,000 for construction. Instead, the city is planning renovations, such as new lighting, paint and cages.

Pets In Need threatened to sue the city in May for not building a new kennel house. The existing building is unsafe and has injured both dogs and employees, Mollica said.

Shikada, who doesn’t conduct in-person interviews with the Post, did not respond to emailed questions about whether the city breached its contract.

Pets In Need can stop operating the shelter in 60 days if the city breaks the contract, but Mollica said the contract will be ended “without cause” because a claim would take a year or longer to resolve.

Back to square one for the city

The contract ending puts the city back where it was before Pets In Need took the shelter over to save the city money. The kennels are in poor shape, and there are few candidates who are willing to take over operations at the right price. Shikada said the city will figure out what to do next after the new year.

Pets In Need, a nonprofit that has been in business 55 years, will continue to operate its Redwood City shelter, Mollica said.

15 Comments

  1. Fauci tortured beagles and Californians think Fauci walks on water. LOL. Only the little guys like Pets in Need face criminal charges. But nooo, not Fauci the ouchie..

  2. I mentioned under the other article that the police report on the puppy deaths states that the city pressured the chief to pressure the detective, but my posts kept getting deleted. Also, the puppies surely died because they were left in a yard before PIN got them. Something fishy at the city is going on here. I get that a bunch of people hate PIN anyway, but I wonder if the city knew this termination was coming and tried to pin the puppy deaths on PIN to distract everyone.

    • Something fishy is going on with your posts; you are posting misinformation about the Police Report and about the City. Are you saying that the puppies died before PiN put them in the van? Or that they were already showing signs of distress before being put in the PiN van? If the puppies were showing signs of distress in the yard, why did the PIN employees tell the Police that all the dogs in the van were fine when they checked on them in Los Banos, halfway through the journey? You are contradicting what the employees reported to the Police, so either you are making things up or these employees have lied to the Police, which is another crime. Also: where did you see the Police Report? I don’t believe it is public, so you must be associated with PiN or the individuals who were charged.

      • The police report is public. You can request it from the PAPD website. The media has it, as referenced in some of the articles about this. The puppies were in a yard for 5 hours in Chowchilla right before PIN got them, and there’s no sign they were aware of that. I’ve got nothing to do with PIN. The fact that other comments think that and ignore the substance of my comments shows how prejudiced they are. I was originally irate about this too until I saw the info about Chowchilla.

        • Records aren’t public. You must be involved with the case.
          RE: California Public Records Act Request Dated 11/13/2021 – R0000025-111321
          Dear Anonymous,
          This letter is in response to your California Public Records Act Request dated
          November 13, 2021 in which you request certain records maintained by the City of
          Palo Alto relating to a criminal investigation in the City of Palo Alto, pursuant to
          the California Public Records Act, Cal. Gov’t Code $$ 6250 et seq.
          Records Request:
          Case #21-2429
          Response to Request:
          Police investigative reports are exempt from the California Public Records Act
          pursuant to Cal. Govt. Code $6254(N) unless you are the victim of the repprt, or
          other authorized party.
          Thank you,
          Lisa Schefff
          Public Safety Program Manager/Records
          turnea on.

  3. Part 1 of this series noted the twenty remaining animals arrived dehydrated and showing signs of heat stroke. No one who is really qualified to work for a shelter would have placed any living animal in an unconditioned van compartment for a trip during hot weather like that.

    • The accusations about the other animals were made by employees at the shelter who were trying to distance themselves by throwing the drivers under the bus. If they knew the puppies were in the yard, they probably would have all pointed the finger at the woman who did that instead. Now that woman walks free and the ambulance drivers are presumably getting fired/fined/forever tarnished because of the city’s agenda.

      • The other employees clearly had more common sense and compassion than the ladies involved. Seriously, they must be a bunch of dingbats to think 7 puppies in one crate is okay AND that none of the animals needed water when its 90+ and they’re sitting in a hot car.

        This has nothing to do with the cities agenda. You’re acting like the city set this whole thing up. The matter is simple employees stuffed 7 puppies in a kennel and baked them.

  4. This would be like charging ambulance drivers for murder because they transported someone to a hospital who unknowingly drank poison- and the drivers didn’t know he drank poison – and died in transit. Ask the other excuses are red herrings. There were 63 pounds of dogs in a 50 pound crate. The A/C worked fine. The back of the van is like the back of a station wagon. None of these things works kill the dogs except being left in a 100 degree yard for 5 hours.

  5. The accusations about the other animals were made by employees at the shelter who were trying to distance themselves by throwing the drivers under the bus. If they knew the puppies were in the yard, they probably would have all pointed the finger at the woman who did that instead. Now that woman walks free and the ambulance drivers are presumably getting fired/fined/forever tarnished because of the city’s agenda.

      • The puppies were surrendered by someone who kept them inside and kept one of the litter. The Chowchilla ACO transported the other 7 from the surrenderer’s house to the Chowchilla volunteer’s house at 11 AM, where they were kept in the yard. The volunteer then took them to hand off to PIN around 4 PM.

    • The accusations from we’re from the licensed medical professionals with years of experience. Get your head out of your butt, this has nothing to do with the cities agenda.

  6. Jeff Bloom purports to have a lot of inside information … hum, I wonder if “Jeff Bloom” is his real name—or is he someone else involved in this?

  7. Everything I know is from the articles and the police report, that is my real name, and I’m not involved. I’m retired with to much time on my hands and took an initial interest because I was mad (at PIN) about the original story. Everyone keeps accusing me of being involved, but all I did was read the police report front to back and realized this doesn’t add up. I don’t care about PIN one way or another.

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