County’s Top Animal Control Officer Resigns

Phil Jewitt opposed cuts to South County Animal Shelter
Gilroy – Phil Jewitt, the county’s top animal control officer, who engaged in a public dispute with his boss over plans to cut the South County Animal Shelter budget, has resigned.

Reached at his home in Salinas, Jewitt declined to comment on his exit or give details about his new job, but said he was pleased with his new direction.

As the animal control officer for Santa Clara County and president of Friends of the San Martin Animal Shelter, or FOSMAS, Jewitt was at the center of shelter controversy over the summer, when county leaders moved to cut its hours.

Jewitt was publicly critical of the decision, and in August, he was relieved of his duties as shelter manager.

Greg Van Wassenhove, the county’s commissioner of agriculture, said at the time that the move was not related to the shelter controversy. Jewitt also left FOSMAS.

But the movement Jewitt led to fight the $90,000 budget cut and keep the shelter open six days a week was successful. After a loud and bitter public outcry, county leaders restored staff positions that were due to be cut and maintained shelter hours.

Shelter clerk Sue Padgett said Wednesday that, after a ringworm outbreak among the shelter’s cats, the facility is now operating smoothly.

“Things at the shelter are going along just beautifully,” Padgett said.

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