INDIO, Calif. -

The Animal Care Center of Indio is a full service shelter, providing adoption and animal-control services to the community. The 50-year-old, city-owned facility is currently home to about 150 animals. It is run down and in need of help.

"Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to bring it to the standards it needs," said Ben Guitron, a spokesperson for the Indio Police Department.

The city is looking to Riverside County Animal Services for some relief. On Wednesday, it placed the issue in the hands of Indio City Manager Dan Martinez.

"At this point the Council has approved for me to go forward and engage them in negotiations in providing shelter services for our animals," said Martinez.

The city leader says he plans to look at all options including utilizing the county's field patrolling services and its state-of-the-art Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.

"The whole reason why we're exploring this is the possibility that it's going to save us money. How much is not yet determined," he said.

Guitron says the county's shelter has the ability to the staffing to better serve Indio's animals.

"It's unfortunate it comes down to dollars and cents," he said.

The negotiations are far too familiar to the council.

"I know from history. We've been through this a year ago. We really want to keep field services here and stay true to that," said Martinez.

The thought of merging with the county floods some animal lovers with fears of euthanasia and the possibility that the lives of adoptable pets will be at risk. However, the city assures the key is to keep animal safety top of mind.
    
"The No. 1 goal is to get them adopted private or public," said Guitron.

Martinez says negotiations are set to begin with the county this week and will soon be presented to the city council for approval. If the Council comes across a reasonable offer, the merge could go into effect as soon as July 1, that's the beginning of the city's fiscal year.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate to the Animal Care Center of Indio, go to www.indiopd.org