MODESTO — Most all moviegoers have seen the disclaimer: "No animals were harmed in the making of this film."
Kwane Stewart, Stanislaus County's veterinarian for five years, will make sure that's the case with his next career move.
He has taken a job with the American Humane Association as the national director for the program that monitors the welfare of animals that appear in movies and television shows.
"I was honored to be given the position," Stewart said Tuesday. "One of my teachers in veterinary school said you can do so many things with this degree. It is taking my career in a direction I didn't foresee."
Stewart said the "No Animals Were Harmed" program sends representatives to movie sets around the world to ensure any creatures whether they're fish, tarantulas or elephants are cared for properly. His new position as the program's chief veterinarian is based in Studio City in Southern California.
He said the association told him more than 100 veterinarians from across the country were considered for the position. His last day with Stanislaus County is Thursday.
Stewart, a graduate of Colorado State University, provided small animal veterinary care in Southern California before taking the job with Stanislaus County five years ago.
The county veterinarian performs about a dozen spay or neuter surgeries daily, holds vaccination clinics and is responsible for the care of 300 animals at the county shelter. Stewart was paid $162,000 last year.
Animal Services Director Annette Patton said that Stewart "has had quite an impact here."
The county more than tripled the number of vaccinations during his service. Stewart also was a strong advocate for the establishment of a low-cost spay and neuter clinic for low-income pet owners, she said.
The county will use contract veterinarians for a few months until a decision is made about recruiting a full-time veterinarian, the director said.
Stewart told county supervisors Tuesday it was a difficult decision to leave after he was offered the new job. "I don't think the people who work at the shelter get enough credit," he said later Tuesday. "They are passionate in their care and love for animals."
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2321.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WATCH
In their meeting Tuesday morning, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors:
Approved the design Tuesday for a coroner's office in downtown Modesto. The county will spend $4.9 million on the remodel of the former Medical Arts Building at 17th and G streets, replacing the outdated coroner's facility on Oakdale Road. The downtown building was part of the county health system until 2006. Officials now will seek bids from seven construction contractors with the qualifications to build the coroner's facility and have it ready in 2014. The downtown structure will give the coroner's office triple the space it has now. The remodel also will include a jail inmate video visitation center and records storage for the county Health Services Agency. Funding for the project comes from a tobacco-tax fund and public facilities fees.
Approved an amended county egg inspection contract with the California Department of Food and Agriculture
Approved an agreement with Newman to reduce the Fink Road Landfill tipping fee when waste is diverted from the trash incineration plant
Approved a consent item dismissing the need for a full environmental study on the Highway 99 and Hammett Road interchange project