OAKLEY -- Even though the Homeless Animals' Lifeline Organization animal shelter will no longer have a home in a few months, it will continue helping animals in need.
Council members voted 4-1 Tuesday to give HALO a 120-day notice to leave the former fire station on Second Street, where it had been housed since September 2011.
The action at the packed meeting was taken after supporters of former HALO President Tamara Reed contended that HALO was not being run properly since she was forced out in July and board member Wayne Sanderson took over day-to-day operations. HALO supporters disagreed, saying programs that benefit animals and people were not being dropped since Reed's departure.
Vice Mayor Carol Rios cast the sole no vote, saying she would have preferred extending the deadline until next March.
Before the vote was taken, Councilman Jim Frazier said, "We can't win in this situation. We are going to make one of you mad."
HALO will continue to operate and look for a new location to house its shelter operations, said Verlene Leonardo, who runs the cat program and is a former president of HALO from 2006 through 2010.
"We're going to have a big adoption event this weekend," she said Wednesday.
Reed, who was named president of HALO in 2010 after serving as a longtime volunteer, was dismissed in July by the board.
Sanderson later acknowledged that HALO directors had removed her in hopes of prompting Reed's
Norma Jean Kone, a Sanderson supporter, told council members she was hurt that a small group of "angry people are attacking our good name and cause ... the things they are doing are hurting the animals and volunteers."
Leonardo said that Franceschini moved out of the fire station on Tuesday.
"She's gone, and we moved the dogs back in today," said Leonardo, adding that HALO was not able to properly secure the fire station and operate the shelter while Franceschini was there.
"We will return to normal now that we can operate normally."
Meanwhile, Reed's supporters are working on setting up Animal Rescue Recon, a new nonprofit animal shelter, with the intention of Reed being named to run it.
"The new group is being formed by a group of volunteers that have the animals in mind first and not the politics," Reed said.
Treasure Carlson, who is working with Reed to set up Animal Rescue Recon, said the aim is for it to be housed in a facility but that the location would not have to be at the Second Street fire station or in Oakley for that matter.
"It was never our intention to try and take the (fire station) facility away from HALO," Carlson said. There were concerns that Sanderson had dropped several programs that were required under the lease terms such as dog training classes and a program that encourages children to read by having them read to dogs.
"We felt the city had a right to know what was going on," Carlson said.
In other matters at Tuesday's meeting, council members voted unanimously to approve a 45-day moratorium to prevent the opening of Internet cafes. The moratorium was enacted over concerns that people who go to Internet cafes do so primarily to buy computer time to enter online sweepstakes and that this activity has led to assaults, robberies and drugs sales.
The idea behind the moratorium is to give Oakley time to come up with rules that would regulate how Internet cafes would be allowed to operate. While there have been inquiries, no formal application to open such a business has been submitted to city officials.
Oakley became the latest East County city after Antioch and Pittsburg to approve similar temporary moratoriums that have stopped Internet cafes from opening while rules are developed. Brentwood is considering a similar moratorium.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.