shelter has a contract with the city of Costa Mesa to care for stray
"They're making pretty substantial improvements," Huntington Beach
planner Rami Talleh said. "It's going to be a completely different
The hospital, located in the shadow of the AES power plant on
Newland Street near Pacific Coast Highway, came under fire in recent
months after volunteers complained that animals at the shelter were
being mistreated and that the hospital was being mismanaged.
Botros said the remodel had nothing to do with the protests.
"We've been planning this for a long time, long before any of this
happened," he said.
Former volunteers have been butting heads with Botros since August
2004, when he dismissed most of them because he believed they were
interfering with management. Some volunteers had already quit over
differences with shelter staff members. Other volunteers supportive
of Botros remain at the shelter. Botros has denied all the
For months, former volunteers protested outside the shelter,
demanding better veterinary care for the animals. Former volunteer
Shelly Hunter also filed a complaint with the state Veterinary
Medical Board, alleging that Botros uses unlicensed technicians to
euthanize and perform surgical procedures on animals.
Many of the former volunteers attended Costa Mesa City Council
meetings, asking that the city cancel its contract with the Orange
County Humane Society and take its stray animals elsewhere. But an
investigation led by Costa Mesa and Orange County animal control
officials found only a few violations at the shelter.
"Essentially, we didn't find evidence to support allegations that
sick or injured animals were failing to receive attention," Costa
Mesa police Lt. John FitzPatrick said before an April meeting looking
at the shelter allegations. "We did find euthanized animals not being
cared for, the drainage system had left fecal matter in cages, and
Those problems have since been fixed, FitzPatrick said.
A report he submitted to the city in November outlined the
allegations, the police department's findings and recommendations.
Two of the three recommendations have already been followed, he
said. The final recommendation is to establish a committee to make
twice-yearly inspections of the facility.