BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
A month after approving a five-year lease with ARE (pronounced Ay Are Ee) Animal Rescue of Hemet at Banning’s animal shelter, the city approved a separate five-year service agreement with the nonprofit at its April 27 city council meeting.
The service agreement could begin as early as June 15, and certainly by July 1, according to City Manager Doug Schulze, since the city’s animal services agreement with the county expires June 30.
ARE (an acronym for “Amber Rescues Everything,” a nod to CEO Amber Schlieder) will provide shelter for pets that are picked up, and provide adoption services for those animals that are unclaimed.
ARE will impound and care for the city’s stray and lost animals, and provide adoption and redemption services for animals, and anticipates being open seven days a week.
The organization will provide licensed veterinary services, last-resort euthanasia services, and spay and neuter services to animals that are to be adopted. ARE will be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and sanitation of the animal shelter.
The city will collect licensing fees for animals, and the Banning’s Police Department will hire two animal control officers to enforce regulations.
The city will pay ARE $60,000 annually to run the shelter.
In an interview, Schlieder outlined her intentions that volunteers in Banning hopefully will involve at-risk and foster youth to work with animals “Not only to help animals, but to help the community.”
“Our goal is to be open seven days a week. We’re really excited to help Banning’s animals,” Schlieder said. “We’d been looking for growth opportunities, and this is a great community of animal lovers who want to do what’s best for animals.”
Schlieder anticipates that the Banning shelter will also provide services for the community that include offering pet food or supplies to pet owners who may be experiencing hard times.
ARE has a five-year lease agreement of $1 a year for the shelter at 2242 Charles St.
Banning has been managing its restoration with a corps of volunteers, as it had been dormant for a decade after flooding forced evacuation of the premises in 2010.
The contract with the county costs Banning $325,000. Services are limited, and Banning currently does not get to keep revenues such as pet licensing fees.
The city anticipates that reopening its own animal shelter and contracting services with ARE Rescue will save between $25,000 to $50,000 a year.
ARE’s five-year service agreement includes a five-year extension, contingent of approval by both parties.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at email@example.com , and messages may be left at (951) 849-4586 x114.