Stung by Skyrocketing Price Hikes, Cities Confront Pasadena Humane Society Over Animal Control Costs, Warn They Must Explore Options

Published : Monday, September 16, 2019 | 5:34 AM

Eight area cities including Pasadena have sent a letter to the Pasadena Humane Society’s new President and CEO Dia Duvernet asking for a meeting to find out why costs for animal control have risen “dramatically” and if the Society simply wants to “get out of these services.”

The city managers fumed their efforts to get answers about recent cost increases of up to 500% “have not been fruitful” and accused the Society of avoiding transparency.

They cautioned that they simply may not be able to effectively explain to their respective City Councils the basis for the increases, and may be “forced to look for other options.”

The September 11 letter was signed by city managers for Arcadia, Bradbury, La Cañada-Flintridge, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.

For decades the Pasadena Humane Society has been the mainstay in the West San Gabriel Valley for animal control and welfare services.

But in recent weeks, the Society submitted contract renewal prices which shocked some city officials.

Arcadia would be forced to pay $525,000 instead of the $90,000 it has paid for almost thirty years. La Cañada-Flintridge absorbed a smaller, but still significant, increase from $40,000 to $146,000. Bradbury’s bill for animal-related services went from $4,700 to $20,415.

Read letter by eight city managers to the Pasadena Humane Society by clicking here

Pasadena Humane Society Vice President of Communications Jack Hagerman told Pasadena Now that a recent cost analysis revealed the Society’s fee structure was out of alignment with the cost of services delivered.

“It was illuminating,” said Hagerman.

“So what we’re doing now is going to the cities to ask them to provide a greater percentage of the cost of those services,” Hagerman explained, “and Pasadena is one that we will be talking about those adjustments.”

Pasadena has depended upon the Humane Society as its defacto City animal control department since 1902.

The contracts have typically been for three-year terms, but the last was extended to five in recognition of the long relationship between the City and the Society. It was for $1.14 million per year.

State law requires cities to maintain animal control shelter systems and rabies control programs, which HSP-SPCA does for Pasadena, along with stray patrol and pick-up, predator event response, bite investigations, low-cost spay and neuter clinics, animal cruelty investigations, vaccination clinics, and maintaining the City’s impound, to name most, but not all of its contracted tasks.