Svenson shares his Dog Control vision
Svenson is hoping to see a request for bids published by the first of September, with a 30-day response time. He said that should allow the county to come to a decision by mid-October.
The request is expected to draw several bids from local kennels.
“I know of at least eight private kennels out there,” said Svenson, whose domain includes Dog Control in addition to the detective and patrol divisions more commonly associated with the sheriff's office. He said some would only be able to house a handful of animals, but some might be able to house up to 20.
Typically, the county is housing 10 to 15 animals at a time, he said. He said it experiences occasional bursts, particularly in the aftermath of Fourth of July festivities and severe thunderstorms, but most dogs fleeing loud noises are reclaimed quickly.
Svenson said the main difference customers will immediately experience is the need to make appointments. “The services will still be there, they'll just have to be more on an appointment-basis, rather than having them come into our facility at any time,” he said.
Yamhill County does not invest any tax dollars into its dog control effort. It depends entirely on licensing fee revenue.
It does not accept cats, leaving privately operated shelters to handle all stray, surrendered and abandoned cats.
Without a shelter to maintain, Svenson said, the Dog Control staff should be able to spend more time in the field. And he said that should result in better fee collection.
In the process, he said, he expects the county to online capability for fine and license renewal payments. Customers have been requesting those services, he said.
Depending on the individual situation, Svenson said, Dog Control officers might make appointments to accept surrendered animals at their office, or travel to the person's home to complete the paperwork and take custody of the animal.
Owners searching for a lost dog should be able to call the main Dog Control number, to see if the animal has been picked up, and travel to the boarding kennel to pick it up, upon presenting proof of ownership.
People wanting to adopt animals may be able to visit them during visiting hours, if the kennel is staffed to handle visitors, or make appointments with the Dog Control staff, he said.
Svenson expects the county to make heavy use of the Internet to help facilitate adoptions, and noted that it already posts photos of available dogs online, through PetFinder.
“The majority of people who come in to the kennel are out there because they saw a specific dog online,” he said. “But we do have a few that do just show up, and we would have to have them make arrangements to walk through.”
The bid requirements Svenson is working on call for the kennel to be able to house county dogs in a separate facility, he said, and allow the county staff 24-hour access.
Dog control officers would still be in charge of making medical decisions, he said. “I still see our staff having a lot of interaction with the dogs,” he said.
Part of the bid process, he said, would be ensuring the animals get top-quality care. "They're still going to be our responsibility,” he said.
Svenson said volunteers currently work to help socialize and train dogs that are up for adoption, and that would continue. He said the county might also work out an arrangement with the nonprofit Newberg Animal Shelter Friends, which now operates the former city of Newberg animal shelter, to accept some dogs.