Seal Beach Animal Control update

Licensing expected to start in January or February

The Seal Beach Police have temporarily suspended enforcement of unlicensed dogs, Capt. Nick Nicholas told the City Council on Monday, Nov. 13.

In other news, Nicholas said they would come back to the council with staff recommendations for amendments to the Municipal Code and a fee schedule for animal  control services.

Nicholas was updating the council on the new Seal Beach animal control program, which launched this July. (See “Animal Control program to start July 1,” at

“Originally, we anticipated launching our pet data online licensing portal before the first of the year,” Nicholas said.

“However, as we delve deeper into best practices in the industry, and we’re working with pet data to help build that program and build that portal, we realize that our municipal code doesn’t align with what we need to do to best serve the community,” Nicholas said.

“So that’s why I want to come back to the council in the coming weeks to present staff recommendations and how we can amend the Municipal Code,” Nicholas said.

He said that Seal Beach would not be able to begin licensing animals until around January or February.

He said Long Beach is no longer licensing pets. Later, he said pet licenses were good through Dec. 31 of this year.

He encouraged Seal Beach residents to submit their dogs’ information online or email

Under-served by Long Beach

“During our research phase, we learned that the city of Long Beach, our former contractor for Animal Control Services, responded to approximately 1.5 Animal Control calls per 12 hour shift,” Nicholas said.

“However, since the inception of our in house program on July 1, we have experienced a substantial increase in the demand for our services,” Nicholas said.

“It very quickly became apparent that the Seal Beach community was in fact under-served during our years of contracting with the city [of Long Beach],” Nicholas said.

He said that realization to light as Seal Beach now handles a volume of calls that surpasses the historical average.

He provided the council with animal control statistics from July 1 to Nov. 2.

• 10 animal bites.

• 45 dead animals.

• 47 stray animals.

• 1 vicious animal.

• 19 animal welfare checks. “Some of these include reports of dogs locked in cars, and we conduct welfare checks to ensure that animals are living in both humane conditions and are being cared for by their owners,” Nicholas said.

• 42 injured animal calls.

• 12 animal noise complaints.

• 193 animal information calls.

• 47 animals transported to WAGS.

• 270 hours of staff time has been spent on animal control calls.

Council questions

and comments

District One Council Member Joe Kalmick said he was able to tell from reports that most animal control calls were educational. “And so I think we’re holding to the pledge of education first before we need to issue citations for violations,” Kalmick said.

District Four Council Member Schelly Sustarsic asked if pet owners would be hearing from Long Beach about licensing.

Nicholas said they get that question quite a bit. According to Nicholas, a current dog license from Long Beach is good through the end of the year.

He said Long Beach is no longer providing animal control services to Seal Beach.

Sustarsic wondered if the increase in animal control calls were related to wildlife.

Nicholas said he thinks only a small percentage of calls are for wildlife. “But I don’t think that’s the bulk of the calls,” Nicholas said.

Sustarsic asked if residents are still free to use Seal Beach Animal Care Center. Westminster Adoption Group and Services currently has the contract to provide animal shelter services. (See “Westminster group to shelter pets for Seal Beach city government” at

“That’s correct. Absolutely,” Nicholas said.

“Residents can take animals to the Seal Beach, Animal Care Center on Adolfo Lopez,” he said.

“We’re not trying to take any animals or any business away from them whatsoever. The issue is during our implementation animal shelters, they’re either all or nothing, they want all of the animals or they don’t want some of the animals,” Nicholas said.

He said Seal Beach Animal Care Center wasn’t equipped to handle non-domesticated animals.

“If the Seal Beach Animal Care Center will take that animal, that’s excellent. If not, then they can contact us and we’ll find a way to get them over to WAGS,” Nicholas said.

District Three Councilwoman Lisa Landau wanted to know if any animal control calls resulted in tickets.

“Not as of yet,” Nicholas said.

“So, no real increase in revenue yet at this point?” Landau asked.

“We don’t anticipate in generating revenue from citations. We will offset some of the costs of the animal control program through licensing,” Nicholas said.

Referring to the 270 hours of staff time, Landau asked if that was affecting parking control. “And are we going to have to hire more staff?” she asked.

Nicholas deferred to Chief Michael Henderson on that issue.

He said animal control officers perform a number of different tasks. He said they were either community service officers or police aides. He said they are trained for multiple functions.

“From one moment they could be responding to Animal Control; the next, they could be helping to tow a car, they could be doing traffic and or they can do parking enforcement,” Nicholas said.

“That being said, you’re absolutely right. We didn’t anticipate being as busy as we are, so that means that it is difficult for us sometimes to do as much parking enforcement we would like because we are responding to these animal control calls,” Nicholas said.

“These aren’t quick calls, generally,” he said

District Two Council Member/Mayor Tom Moore said he was impressed with how the program was implemented. Moore asked for an analysis of what wasproposed before, financially, and what the SBPD is proposing now. Moore wanted to know what the unexpected costs are.

Nicholas said there had been unexpected problems.

He said there had been some unexpected purchases. Fortunately, he said, they weren’t big purchases.

For example, when Seal Beach bought crates for animals, they were crates with only one door.

“Well, apparently you can’t do that with certain cats, right? Because you put the cat in there. If it’s a vicious cat, you don’t want to put your whole body in the crate because the cat’s going to attack you and scratch you. So then you have to have the door on the other side so that you can get the cat out from the from the non-scratchy, bitey side,” Nicholas said.

“What do you do with calls for coyotes,” Moore said.

“We are launching a coyote reporting portal as well, so that will be on our website within the next couple of days,” Nicholas said.