SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino County officials stood alongside Rep. Pete Aguilar Friday as he introduced a new bill that would provide grants to public animal shelters, the first of its kind.
It's a response to shelters nationwide feeling outdated, understaffed and overcrowded, despite efforts to make adoption easier.
"The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recently voted to reduce the cost of pet adoptions to $10 for cats and kittens and $20 for dogs and puppies," San Bernardino County Public Health Director Josh Dugas said.
ABC7 has reported on the challenges county and city shelters face for five years. Many of those challenges are still true today.
"We all saw the rise in adoptions that happened during the COVID times and that was great, but we've also seen a little bit of that decline now," Aguilar said.
San Bernardino County is in the process of developing a new, third animal shelter.
They recently upgraded the one in Devore, adding a grassy enrichment area where employees and volunteers can play with dogs steps away from where they usually stay in their kennels. It has toys, an agility course and is used for leash training.
Officials believe grant funding would help with medical expenses and training, getting them one more step closer to life outside.
Typically, a bill like this would now be on its way to committee. However, that can't happen until the U.S. House of Representatives elects a new speaker.