By: Janis Rosenberg-Stamm
Founding President, Unleashing the Possibilities Inc. 501 (c)(3)

Yolo County residents and lifelong animal activists have been tirelessly advocating to improve animal services for many years. Personally, I’ve dedicated 15 years to this cause, and the discussion about our dilapidated Animal Services building and lack of services predates my involvement.

In the past, it was a struggle with elected officials who, at the time, were weary of us “crazy animal” people. Cost and lack of interest were always the hurdles to overcome. While we may have different priorities in what needs to be done and when, the end goal is the same: Yolo County needs and deserves a new, state-of-the-art building that will promote adoptions, save lives, and offer the services this county desperately needs.

The new “phased approach” to improving Animal Services seems to be working. In recent years, the County has formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA), brought all cities to the table (no easy task), canceled the vet med contract with UCD and hired (for the first time) veterinarians and support staff as county employees, and most recently shifted Animal Services from the direction of the Sheriff’s Department to the Department of Community Services, under Director Leslie Lindbo. These are significant steps in the right direction, and with Mrs. Lindbo’s leadership and the “phased approach,” more progress is expected.

Two big pieces of the puzzle that have been missing are spay/neuter services and TNR program. These two vital programs have been nonexistent in Yolo County. Local rescues and the SPCA have worked tirelessly to build relationships outside of our county to provide these services to Yolo. This unsustainable outsourcing has strained other counties that have programs in place.

On Tuesday, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of Phase 2A: Seeking approval to create a new spay/neuter facility (plus other surgical and/or ancillary functions) in unused space at 2780 E. Gibson Road, Woodland.

While there is still a long way to go, the approval of Phase 2A keeps our momentum moving towards the ultimate goal of a new, state-of-the-art building.

I would like to say thank you to our County Supervisors Chair Lucas Frerichs, Supervisor Provenza, Supervisor Villegas, Supervisor Sandy and Supervisor Barajas. All who voted in favor today. Also to Director Lindbo & County Administrative Officer Gerardo Pinedo, who are clearly committed to improving Animal Services in Yolo County.

Below I have included the Phased Plan approach that the County is taking.

Unleashing the Possibilities Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) that was founded in 2016. UTP (as we like to call it) has the sole mission to bring a new state of the art animal shelter to Yolo County. We work tirelessly with the JPA Board, local elected officials from the cities of Yolo, County Supervisors and other stakeholders. To learn more please visit our website at or email us at

Phase 1

As part of the update on YCAS on January 23, 2024, the Board of Supervisors received a progress report on addressing deferred maintenance items for the existing shelter. Most of the work has been completed, and the current project status list is attached to this report (Att. A YCAS Deferred Maintenance Update). These maintenance repairs are primarily being funded with current fiscal year YCAS budget savings totaling approximately $300,000. Roof repairs totaling approximately $75,000 are funded with Accumulated Outlay Funds. Other matters successfully completed include the solution of pending contracts as well as the adjudication of pending personnel actions.

Phase 2A

Space is needed for adequate spay/neuter facilities, including community spay/neuter clinics. The current spay/neuter facility is a trailer that is situated behind the shelter. It is relatively small, with outdated equipment and poor air circulation. It is not adequately sized for spay/neuter services for medium to large dogs (small dogs and cats are more easily accommodated in the limited space), and does not have adequate space for pre-surgery kenneling or recovery. The trailer was originally used in Hurricane Katrina response prior to 2005, and was shipped to Yolo County from Florida when it was no longer in use. It is simply too old and too small to provide adequate services.

The proposed solution is conveniently located next door to the current YCAS shelter facility at 2780 E Gibson Road, Woodland, in the former Probation Administration building, within the unused modular building space adjacent to the planned location of the CrisisNow program. This building has over 2800 square feet of available space that can be converted to a veterinary clinic and related shelter use at a reasonable cost. The vision is to use this space to perform a greater number of in-house spay/neuter surgeries, and other ancillary functions, which would accommodate medium to large dogs, which is not easily done in the existing facilities. This will include animals housed at the YCAS shelter, stray cat colony trap-neuter-release (TNR), and low-cost spay neuter services for the public. Staff also plan to decompress some of the administrative space in the existing shelter to create a more welcoming environment for people looking to adopt or seeking other shelter services.

The building needs very little work to bring this plan to fruition. The proposed work includes replacing the flooring with a smooth, cleanable surface, adding new paint, making some circulation improvements for the surgery and recovery areas, as well as adding ADA access. The floor plan for the proposed work is found in Attachment B: YCAS Proposed Spay Neuter Facility.

These improvements are estimated to cost up to $650,000. Staff proposes to use $500,000 from the Animal Services Reserve account plus $150,000 in Accumulated Capital Outlay funds. The Animal Services Reserve account contains funds from prior years’ YCAS budget savings. In accordance with the Animal Services Reserve account policy, CAO staff reached out to jurisdictional partners, including all four city managers, or their designated staff.

With regard to the surgical facilities, existing surgical equipment will be re-used as much as possible. However, much of the equipment is old and requires constant maintenance. Therefore, staff will seek grant funding to replace some of the veterinary surgical equipment, including an anesthesia and monitoring machine, surgical tables, and exhaust.

Phase 2B

By building a new modular building located on the same campus as 2780 E. Gibson Road, Woodland, it could afford the possibility of partnering with an entity that could provide shelter medicine, spay / neuter services, and surgery for injured shelter animals. One such partnership could be with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (UCDSVM). County staff have had early discussions with the UCDSVM regarding the possibility of a partnered approach to provide space for veterinary students to learn shelter medicine while providing a valuable service to our communities in the form of low-cost spay neuter service, TNR, and surgeries for injured shelter animals. UCDSVM has plans to increase its student population by as much as 200 students and expand its shelter medicine program. A new modular space on the 2780 E Gibson Road campus could provide the needed space while providing much-needed veterinarian services to shelter animals, community rescue groups, and TNR programs.

There is vacant county-owned land next to the future CrisisNow building and between the proposed spay/neuter facility and the existing County Juvenile Detention Facility. This space would be ideal for a future modular building that could be used for this purpose (See Att C. Proposed Future Modular Location). The current estimated cost of building a modular for this purpose is approximately $1.5 million, based on the cost to build a similarly sized modular recently completed on the Dept. of Community Services campus.

Phase 3

As stated earlier, the existing YCAS shelter facility is antiquated. We must keep our eye on this future need to plan and seek funding opportunities or partnerships that could bring a future replacement shelter to fruition. Some stakeholders have also expressed a desire for a low-cost spay/neuter services in West Sacramento. This need could be met with vouchers, shuttle services, or mobile services, and will be taken into consideration with long-term planning.

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