GREENFIELD — Animal Control Officer Silvia Camacho has been working at the Greenfield Police Department since 2015. She is responsible for educating Greenfield residents on the proper care of pets, state and municipality laws, and the importance of being responsible pet owners.
Breeding and selling animals and animal abandonment are two issues, in particular, that Camacho wants the public to be informed about.
Breeding and selling animals is prohibited in Greenfield. For example, selling puppies under 8 weeks old is illegal as is the sale of livestock and bees. Yet, within the past six months, Camacho has dealt with seven cases involving Greenfield residents advertising the sale of animals on Facebook and Craigslist.
In the case of the sale of puppies, Camacho said, “A veterinarian must certify that the puppies are ready to be sold, and the sellers must have a permit for breeding and selling.” Puppies can be given away. But, Camacho said, “Pet owners must have a city license and provide proof of vaccination.”
Those found advertising the sale of animals online usually tell Camacho that they were not aware of the laws. Camacho gave examples of sale prices for dogs: $50 for chihuahuas; $50 to $100 for poodles; $300 to $700 for German shepherds; and $800 to $1,500 for great danes. French bulldogs cost much more than the great danes.
Camacho wants to make residents more responsible and help them avoid getting cited for breeding and selling animals illegally. Citations can range from $100 for first-time violations to $500 for a fourth and subsequent violation.
There are also problems with animal abandonment, which is a crime under California Penal Code and Monterey County Code. Abandonment, explains Camacho, is when animals are left alone. Abandonment can lead to neglect.
For example, leaving an animal unattended when gone on vacation is abandonment as well as neglect if the animal is tied up with no food or water. Camacho cited a recent case in which she responded to a call about a dog having been left alone in a vacant apartment.
“Animals left alone with no food or water might be aggressive,” Camacho said. “They may be afraid.”
Pet owners may be fined $100 for first-time offenses of animal abandonment. Depending on the severity of the situation, a pet owner can face imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Of the latter, Camacho has not had any such cases. It costs the City of Greenfield money to take animals to County Animal Services.
“Don’t be afraid,” is what Camacho would tell pet owners who are thinking of contacting her to explain why they can no longer care for their pets. “There are options,” said Camacho, referring to what pet owners can do to avoid abandoning a pet.
The public can call the Greenfield Police Department at 831-674-5111 or the non-emergency number 831-385-8311 with questions or concerns.