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The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved negotiations with a group that wants to lease part of the old Boys Ranch on Scott Road as a shelter to rehabilitate dogs thought to be unsuitable for adoption.

Michael Morse, the county’s general services director, asked the board for permission to enter into talks with Sacramento Shelter Pets Alive Inc., a nonprofit organization.

Morse said repeated attempts to repurpose the old Boys Ranch have failed due to objections by neighbors and the high cost of starting operations at the facility. An effort to place a federal halfway house there met with resistance in 2014; an attempt to house rescued horses there failed in 2016 due to costs.

With 140 acres and a dozen structures, the facility, which opened as a correctional center for teens in 1960 and closed in 2010, could house more than one group, county officials have said.

Pets Alive is seeking at least a five-year lease to repurpose a portion of the ranch, Morse said, to “provide behavioral and rehabilitative programs, foster care and rescue support for shelter dogs ... to improve and sustain a high live-release rate.” 

At the start, the facility would house 65 dogs, he said, with a four-year goal to have up to 150 kennels. The site would include outdoor play areas, shelter for the dogs and an adoption center, he said.

Morse said funding would come from donations – fundraisers, private donations and grants – as well as a request for annual funding from the county’s animal control operations.

Morse said he sent out letters last month notifying neighbors of the possibility and got one response, a positive one.

Delyse Gannaway, executive director of the nonprofit, told the board the group is modeled after Austin Pets Alive in Texas, which has brought that community’s live-release rate up to 98 percent. Sacramento County’s rate has been in the high 80-percents and in recent months reached 90 percent due to rehab and socialization work being done by volunteers, she said.

To improve further, “We need time and we need space, and that’s what the Boys Ranch is going to allow,” Gannaway said.

Supervisor Don Nottoli said several county officials will visit Austin Pets Alive next month to see how Sacramento County should approach this situation.

“I just think it has a lot of promise,” Nottoli said of the proposal. He made the motion to support the staff recommendation. Once the negotiations are complete, Nottoli said, “I think this could be something very good for Sacramento County, for our shelter pets and animals, but also for the entire region.”


Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 858
Post rating: 648

Pets Alive - Boys Ranch repurpose

I think this is a great idea and I hope it gets final aproval.

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27168
Post rating: 1347

Boys Ranch idea goes before CCPAC

Boys Ranch proposal

County official Michael Morse made a brief appearance in Wilton at Wednesday night's meeting of the Cosumnes Community Planning Advisory Council with Delyse Gannaway, head of the nonprofit that hopes to reopen part of Boys Ranch as a facility to help dogs deemed unadoptable. They explained the plan much as they did Tuesday before the county Board of Supervisors, saying they were just beginning to try to craft a deal. The CCPAC members, neighbor volunteers who serve as planning advisors to the county, were supportive of the idea and encouraged the two to bring in a fully documented plan when it is ready. Speaking after the meeting, Morse and Gannaway said they thought it would take two or three months to see whether a deal can be put together. (Click photo for larger image.)

T. Hanson's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 299
Post rating: 451

Boys Ranch Enterprise

On the surface, converting the County facility, or at least a part of, to a non-profit dog rescue organization sounds great. However the failure of a similar proposal to rescue horses at that site due to funding problems, comes to mind. I understand Sac County still pays some $1 million just for upkeep of this vacant property, and that is our taxpayers dollars. I would hope that CCPAC has asked this group to come back with a viable business plan that alleviates the County taxpayers of any future subsidies for this facility. Further, if this group seeks usage of only a small part of that overall facility, i.e., 4-5 acres, what is their business impact on usage of the remainder of the facility, plus or minu, and the taxpayers' dime? IMO, County sale or lease of the facility needs to remain in toto, to one entity, rather than piecemealing it out. And IMO such lease or sale to a business recreational entity would seem most logical. Then again, maybe a sale to an "excavator" such as Teichert as done on the North end of Scott Road? wink

Ashley Low's picture
Joined: 01/10/2012
Posts: 16
Post rating: 12

Boys Ranch 2 Rescue Shelter

I like this idea!  I wish they could incorporate both the Boys Ranch and the Animal rehabilitaion shelter. 

Ashley Low

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