The report says that the sole county-run animal shelter is in terrible condition and can no longer do its job effectively.
Animal rights activists have been complaining about high kill rates and low adoption rates at the shelter for years, as well as substandard conditions. Just last year, two lawsuits were filed. One was filed by a rescue group alleging a pattern of abuse and neglect at the shelter. The other was filed by a former employee who expressed safety concerns.
The Grand Jury report lends credence to those complaints. It says the animal shelter is so overcrowded that it can no longer provide compassionate care. In addition, it says the 74-year-old complex has fallen into a state of disrepair so dire that it could pose a danger to animals and shelter workers alike.
The shelter, in Orange, was built to serve a population of 200,000 people. But the 18 cities it serves now have a population of more than two million. Every other county in California with more than 500,000 people has at least two shelters, according to the report.
The report notes that the Orange County Board of Supervisors has been aware of serious problems at the shelter for more than 20 years, but has done little to improve conditions. It sites a woeful lack of commitment to animal care and recommends the construction of new facilities and a new county position to oversee the design of those facilities.