By Angela Musallam

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — There’s a huge outcry in Nevada County to keep a local group in charge of the county’s animal shelter.

Community members flooded the Nevada County chambers Tuesday morning, urging officials to keep Sammie’s Friends in operation. The county is now considering to extend the group’s contract for another year.

Sammie’s Friends has operated the shelter for almost a decade; its contract is up at the end of June.

Community members say the group is a pillar of animal welfare, which they believe will collapse if the county changes the shelter’s operation.

“We don’t want to go backward we want to forward,” said one woman during Tuesday’s board of supervisor’s meeting.

A packed chamber of community members urging Nevada County to keep Sammie’s Friends in operation, after the county rejected the group’s proposal for a new contract a few weeks ago.
Sammie’s Friends has operated the county’s animal shelter for nearly a decade.

“We’ve lived here over 20 years in the county, and all of our dogs have come from shelters. When I sit back and look at what it was before Sammie’s arrived, it’s phenomenal,” said one concerned community member.

The shelter has had a profound impact on the community, from reducing animal euthanasia rates from 68 percent down to less than one percent to helping low-income families care for their pets.

“We have saved the lives of over 25,000 animals,” said Curt Rolander.

Rolander is Co-Founder of Sammie’s Friends. He’s disappointed the county rejected his proposal for an extra $330,000 this year. It’s a figure Rolander says is needed for the shelter to keep its reputation of being a safe haven for unwanted animals.

Nevada County supervisors had proposed to relocate some of the shelter’s services to Placer County to cut costs.

“It’s kind of a weasely way of solving a problem, it should be your responsibility to do the right thing for the animals,” Rolander said.

The chair of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors tells CBS13 “there are some internal negotiations going on, and my hope is when we are all finished we will have a contract that’s suitable for everybody.”

A contract that keeps Sammie’s Friends in charge of the county shelter for as long as possible and a sanctuary for animals who need a second chance.

“Animals don’t necessarily choose where they die, and when they come here they don’t,” said Patti Foster, a volunteer at the shelter for the past nine years.

Hundreds of community members are expected to show up to a town-hall meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Foothills Event Center.

The founders of the shelter will be there to discuss other ways to possibly get more funding.

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