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CSD Security Committee

It wasn't a big crowd, but it was bigger than usual for the CSD Security Committee.

The Community Services District’s Security Committee – which includes two of the CSD’s five directors – was clear Thursday afternoon: It’s not interested in continuing the longtime practice of handling wild animals and pets in the community. 

“We need to get out of this business or any illusion of us being in this business,” said Director Mark Pecotich, board president and a member of the committee.

There were eight people present for the session, which was moved to the CSD’s main meeting room instead of the small conference room where it's usually held.

General Manager Mark Martin said a complaint was filed with Cal-OSHA, which addresses workplace safety problems, about animal control work being done by Security patrol officers.

Martin said the investigation took months and was only resolved late last month, with CSD fined $550. Martin said he immediately suspended animal-control activities until the problem could be studied and discussed.

Trying to research the issue, Martin said he could find no record of the CSD actually being given authority to handle animal control in the first place.

“We have investigated the law,” Martin said. “The law says (the authority) has to be conferred upon us by the county officially for us to be performing that role.” He added a long list of other concerns – transport vehicles for animals, equipment for officers, training, facilities for the animals and more.

In every agency they researched, Martin said, animal control is separate from security.

Pecotich, the board president, established that no one is paying for animal control now as part of their CSD bill. He added, “So let’s just cut it off right there, in my opinion. This is not in (CSD’s) wheelhouse. ... As residents, we pay Sacramento County a fee for animal control. Right? It comes out of our Sac County taxes. So, this is not our thing.”

Director Les Clark, the other committee member, called it “scope creep,” adding, “Everybody’s trying to be good neighbors and have provided pseudo-services outside the boundaries of our authority.”

Pecotich emphasized that Murietans need to call the county for help with animal issues.

Sacramento County says it responded to 140 animal calls last year in the 95683 ZIP code, which includes Sloughhouse.

Annual Rancho Murieta Security reports from 2009 through 2015, tracking issues like loose dogs, deer issues and rattlesnakes, totaled an average of 659 animal incidents handled by Security yearly, nearly two a day.

Janna Haynes, a media representative for the county, said Rancho Murieta’s change will be felt throughout the county.

“Our response time will be considerably longer than Rancho Murieta CSD due to the distance from other parts of the county,” she wrote in an email, “and that will have a direct impact on our response times to other areas within the county.”

She also wrote, “The county does not generally deal with wildlife animals. We can work with the Department of Fish & Game or the federal trapper to address these call concerns. We do respond to injured wildlife and rabies vectors such as skunks and bats.”

“We’re S.O.L.,” Beth Buderus, a neighbor involved in animal rescue issues, said after the meeting. "They're going to close it down, period ... unless the public really stands up and supports this, and I don't know if they will." Later, she added in a text message, "It seems all the services we need from CSD/Security are being taken away for one reason or another. So why do we have Security, what services are left that they can perform?"

During the meeting, after hearing the directors’ response to the situation, Buderus asked if Security would euthanize an injured animal (no), help a fawn stuck in a fence (no), or contact her to see if there’s a volunteer to take the pet in until its owner can be found (yes).

“My staff has been instructed to help as much as they can, without going over that line, so to speak,” Security Chief Jeff Werblun said. Answering a concern Buderus expressed recently, Werblun said, if necessary, a patrol officer will bring the I.D. chip reader to the location of a lost dog to see if the dog’s owner can be identified, instead of requiring that the lost dog be brought to the South Gate.

So how did Security get into the animal business?

“I think they can blame me for that,” said Jim Noller, on the phone from Wilton. He served as Security chief for almost 30 years before retiring in 2004. “I’ll take responsibility for it, because I wanted the department to do everything they could for the residents. ... So everything that was ever asked of me, we did.”

Noller joked, “Thirty years ago, if I knew that calling OSHA would get us out of the dog business, I would have done it myself.”

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Post rating: 1387

Contact info for county

From the CSD's website, here's information about reaching the county on animal issues:

Residents can report loose, captured, dead or threatening animals as well as dog bites by contacting Animal Control at (916) 875-4311 or 311 or report online at www.311.saccounty.net.  

We're also developing a list of resources other than the county.

Mike Simas's picture
Joined: 03/21/2008
Posts: 50
Post rating: 49

Rattle Snake

I had an unusual situation a couple of years ago when a rattlesnake got into my house. CSD came and removed it. in the unlikely event, this should happen to me or others, will CSD remove it?

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
Post rating: 706


No CSD will not handle that situation.  You will be instructed to call Animal Control.   I guess we all need to start watching YouTube videos to see how to do it ourselves...or grab a shovel to cut it's head off or something to smash it before it bites.  It will be a minimum of 45 minutes for Animal Control to get out here as they have the whole county to cover.  By that time, who knows where the snake will be in your home unless you are keeping an eye on it from a safe distance.  

This obviously is more of a danger to a resident, so much for keeping us safe.

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
Post rating: 706

Observe and report LOL

From an earlier article on RM . com

"Security will respond to an animal call if there is a threat to public safety such as an aggressive loose dog threatening or attacking people, animals in the roadway creating a hazard, or a bobcat sighting. Response to aggressive or threatening animals will consist of our observing the animal and reporting it to Animal Control or the Department of Fish and Game."

Myrna Solomon's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 427
Post rating: 745

Animal control doesn't want to come out here!!

We had a dead deer in our backyard a couple of years ago on a Saturday and they said they wouldn't come out until Wednesday!! It was summer and the odor got horrible. This is going to be a hardship for our community unless we can get Animal control to understand that we pay taxes like every other county resident, and they should get out here ASAP!!

Myrna Solomon

T. Hanson's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 318
Post rating: 474

CSD ratepayers concerns

Suggest CSD President Pecotich and new GM Martin express more attention in favor of the concerns of those who they work for, the ratepayers of Rancho Murieta.

Benjamin Shaw's picture
Joined: 04/30/2011
Posts: 67
Post rating: 59


Residents can't have it both ways. There has been an active movement to remove authority from security over the past year, beginning with the firing of former chief Paul Wagner. The security force has been diminished to the current status of “observe and report” as opposed to being given proper authority to actually protect the community. I understand that there are residents who want things the way they were thirty years ago, but this is a much larger community, much different community, and until security is given proper authority to actually protect residents, this is what you get.

If you would actually like to have a safe community, give security the power to write actual traffic tickets, make arrests (especially for DUIs), and handle animal control calls. With that, they would need to be paid more money. Until then, we can all enjoy them observing and reporting.

Bill McCarver's picture
Joined: 08/19/2007
Posts: 67
Post rating: 107


Mr. Shaw is correct. Just FYI, the "Observe and Report" is directly out of the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services handbook, which manages how "security guards" operate. If any arrests are made, they must be a "citizen's arrest".  Sad state of affairs for us and the officers, who are here to protect us.

Bill McCarver

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