"I've read through the report once, I'm going through it again, and looking forward to finding solutions for the animal control problems in the county," Commissioner Blair Couch said.
"The primary problems are the result of over-population and lack of funding," according to the report.
The task force recommended commissioners decide whether they want to continue funding the humane society's costs associated with the care and disposition of cats. For the long-term, the group recommended a fee be imposed on cat owners.
It was recommended the commission provide funds, possibly through grants, to develop a public animal control presentation for public education covering the problems, duties of officers, benefits of spaying/neutering, adoption of dogs and other animal control issues. The task force also recommended additional training for animal control officers, including search and seizure laws and customer service.
The commissioners were also advised to work closely with the Save A Kitty nonprofit Feral Cat Program and pursue cost-effective options to increase awareness and dog license collections. There was also a recommendation the commission seek legislative support to "update and expand the fee schedules for dogs and other animal control," including addition of a cat fee and a differential fee scale based on whether an animal is spayed or neutered.
The county is operating under the service terms of last year's contract after agreeing to pay the humane society an additional $21,972 on the existing contract to assure the agency would continue providing afterhours animal control services through June 30, 2010. The county and municipalities were notified, as of July, the society would cease providing those services, and the commissioners met with several private companies about employing them to perform afterhours services before reaching agreement with the humane society.
The county funds the humane society partially out of the general county fund and partially from the assessor's office dog tag fund. The additional money for the existing contract came from the county's cash carryover.
The society has also warned the county effective July 1, 2010, it would cease all animal control services for governmental entities if additional funds were not forthcoming. Between all the governmental entities, officials said nearly $200,000 is paid to the humane society for the services...." More