The City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract Monday that transfers Animal Services out of the Police Department over to the nonprofit Petaluma Animal Services Foundation.

Animal Service employees will no longer be part of city staff and will instead work directly for the foundation. City Manager John Brown said that the transfer will save an Animal Control officer position and allow for an expansion of services that the city couldn't afford.

Denise Sperling, chairperson of the Animal Services Advisory Committee, said that she is thrilled with the outcome. "The animals are the real winners here," she said.

Current city animal services workers will now be employed by the foundation and not the city. Valarie Fausone, a board member of the foundation, said that employment will be offered to all animal services employees and that the foundation will utilize the city shelter facility, vehicles and equipment.

Brown said he hopes to complete the transfer of services by Aug. 1.

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