Bay Area no-kill animal rescue at risk for closing per their landlord Caltrans

If Jelly's Place closes, they'd have to figure out what to do with more than 140 animals and 15 people would lose their jobs.

Melanie Woodrow Image
Monday, January 30, 2023
San Pablo no-kill animal rescue at risk for closing per landlord
San Pablo no-kill animal rescue Jelly's Place says they're at risk of closing after their landlord Caltrans laid out the options.

SAN PABLO, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Pablo no-kill animal rescue says their landlord Caltrans told them they must bid at auction to keep renting their property or sign a long-term lease they likely won't be able to afford.

There's no shortage of barking at Jelly's Place, but on this day all the noise is about something else.

Caltrans, which owns the property, told Jelly's they must either bid at auction to continue renting it or enter into a long-term lease up to 20 years.

"I couldn't sleep for three days," said Julie Bainbridge, Jelly's Place founder and president.

She says for more than a decade Jelly's has been at this location paying a nominal amount of rent to Caltrans.

MORE: Bay Area shelters make plea to pet owners as facilities overflow with abandoned animals

"We've been lucky enough not to have anything change for 12 years, but now they want to do something about it," said Bainbridge.

In an email sent to Jelly's last week that Bainbridge shared with ABC7 News, an agent with the Department of Transportation writes in part, "...we simply can't 'shield Jelly's Place from Sacramento (HQ) anymore..."

Regarding the auction, the Caltrans agent writes in part, "...we do 'run the risk' that you could be outbid... but because I will also be auctioning the lot directly to the south of you.... I'm hoping any 'competition' will bid on that lot... and not on yours."

"We don't want to go to auction and take our chances," said Bainbridge.

Bainbridge says she's leaning towards the long-term lease option which also presents challenges.

VIDEO: After 14 failed adoptions, 'Ronald' the dog finally finds forever home

The SPCA of Wake County said that after 14 unsuccessful adoption attempts, 'Ronald' has a loving permanent home.

The Caltrans agent writes in part, "We would have to secure a 'formal' appraisal (which I assume will come in significantly higher than what you are currently paying) and then we'd have to go before our board.... who will basically insist we follow the manual to a 'T.' This would include scheduled annual rent increases of about 4%."

"If it reaches a certain amount of money we would not be able to afford it and would have to close down within 30 days," said Bainbridge.

"We would have to figure out what to do with over 140 animals, 15 people would lose their jobs, the community would not be able to come to us when they need help with their animal medical care, we wouldn't be able to take dogs off high kill lists in other counties not just Contra Costa County, along with community animals which are dumped on the street which is happening a lot lately because of COVID-19," she continued.

In a statement to ABC7 News, Caltrans writes, "Caltrans is removing the parcel from the scheduled auction to further explore the lessee's desire to pursue a long-term lease."

Bainbridge says the department has been amazing to Jelly's for 12 years.

"It's time do something about it. I understand that but I don't want to risk everything that's involved. That's the hard part," Bainbridge said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Jelly's Place. You can make a donation here.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live