Yuma County takes up animal control
Yuma County will assume animal control services in unincorporated parts of the county starting Sunday.
The new Yuma County Animal Control Division is taking over the services from the Humane Society of Yuma and will operate under the county health district. The division has a budget of about $420,000 and a staff of five this year to respond to calls of disturbances, injuries, cruelty, strays or other issues involving domesticated animals in unincorporated areas of Yuma County.
The county had previously partnered with the Humane Society of Yuma to provide animal control services in addition to kennelling and licensing.
The new county officers will assist in animal apprehension, safety, handling and transporting throughout the areas outside of city limits. The Humane Society of Yuma will maintain its partnership with the county by receiving and detaining animals in its kennels, and conducting licensing for county pet owners.
County Administrator Robert Pickels said the county and the Humane Society started cooperatively talking about a transition about three or four years ago, although the changeover might have been expedited some when the city of Yuma took over its own animal control duties from the Humane Society.
In January, the city — specifically, the Yuma Police Department — started handling animal control issues within city limits rather than renew its contract with the Humane Society at a higher rate. The city animal control switch has been the cause of stress and controversy, with the demand, cost and staffing ending up greater than anticipated.
Pickels said he hoped for a seamless transition, and that good planning should be the key to success.
The county animal control division will have an administrative assistant, two full-time officers and two part-time officers. The civilian officers will work only with domesticated animals, including house pets and livestock such as chickens. They will not work with wildlife.
Pickels said the county had budgeted about $420,000 last year for animal control, while under contract with the Humane Society for all services. He expected the in-house management to cost about the same. This year's total budget includes the kennel and licensing services.
“We don't believe the program will cost us any more than it has in the past,” he said.
Animal control will operate out of headquarters behind the Yuma County Health Department, 2681 S. 23rd Ave. in Yuma. Its office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, although an officer will be on call 24 hours a day for after-hours emergencies.
The division can be reached at www.yumacountyaz.gov/animalcontrol or 341-8800.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.