September 16, 1999

City Wants To Takeover Animal Shelter
Editorial
By Jon A. Brake

Lookout the City of Manhattan has a problem and they are about to throw
money at it, big money.
The problem is what to do with dogs and cats. Eight Hundred Thousand
dollars should do the trick. Oh! and they will need to increase the budget
every year.
The real problem is: Is the T. Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter
primarily to keep the public safe from loose and dangerous dogs and cats?
Or, Is the Shelter to be used like a humane society where animals may be
treated and rehabilitated to optimize adoption.
In other communities the City or County will look out for the safety of the
public and a private Humane Society will run an adoption center. The cost
of the adoption center is mostly private.
Not in Manhattan. The City will now spend $800,000 to renovate and expand
the shelter and pay the yearly cost to store the animals until adoption.
All of this for 356 dogs and 380 cats a year. In 1998 1155 dogs were turned
in to the shelter, 425 were returned to the owners, 374 were adopted and
356 were euthanized (killed) at the shelter.
In 1998 811 cats were turned into the shelter, 51 were returned to the
owner, 376 were adopted and 380 were euthanized at the shelter.
The larger building will allow the 356 dogs and 380 cats more time to be
adopted. Or that is the thinking of the people wanting to expand.
Another problem is that the Animal Shelter was given to the Health
Department several years ago. They did not want the problems but it was
given to them. In 1997 the City Administration did a very critical report
on the running of the Animal Shelter.
Here is a memo given to the City Commission at Tuesday nights meeting:
CITY COMMISSION AGENDA MEMO
September 9, 1999
FROM: Diane Stoddard, Assistant to the City Manager
MEETING:        September 14, 1999
SUBJECT: Animal Shelter Operational and Funding Recommendations
PRESENTERS:             Diane Stoddard, Assistant to the City Manager
BACKGROUND
For the past several years, the Riley County-Manhattan Health Department
and Board of Health, the City of Manhattan, and all of the users of the T.
Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter have been involved in discussions
concerning the renovation and expansion of the facility.  Recently, the
renovation and expansion of the facility was approved in the Cityís Capital
Improvements Program and is slated to be bid in early 2000 with
construction also occurring in 2000.
The plans for the renovation and expansion of the T. Russell Reitz Regional
Animal Shelter necessitate a discussion of issues related to funding of the
facility.  Also, it has presented an opportunity to discuss issues related
to the administration of the facility and its ongoing operations after the
new facility is completed.
DISCUSSION: City Administration has prepared a report which sets forth
various recommendations for the City Commissionís consideration and the
consideration of the various entities involved with the animal shelter.
This report is attached.
The report addresses each recommendation with some detail.  However, in
summary, the recommendations outlined in the report include:
1. The City Commission of the City of Manhattan should consider regaining
administration of the T. Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter and pursue
this in conjunction with Riley County.
2. Existing inter-local agreements with the cities of Riley, Leonardville,
Emmett, and Ogden should be renegotiated based upon a fair method of cost
allocation.   Also, inter-local agreements with Pottawatomie and Riley
County should be negotiated.
3. Pursue creation of ongoing operational and funding assistance for
shelter activities by coordinating with various individuals, businesses,
the veterinary medicine school, animal-friendly organizations such as the
Humane Society, and foundations.
4. Pursue the enhancement of pet licensing in Manhattan by increasing
public awareness of existing laws and increasing enforcement of those laws
while creating additional revenue to apply to the facility debt service.
5. Pursue ongoing operational enhancements, such as increased use of
volunteers, use of a web site to list animals available for adoption, and
improve interaction and coordination with entities interested in animal
welfare.
City Administration suggests that this policy session is an opportunity for
users of the animal shelter to discuss the future operations,
administration, and funding of the facility in order to ensure that it will
operate in a fair and equitable manner for all users and in a fashion in
conjunction with the vision that it will be animal-friendly and
constituent-friendly.
Also at the Policy Session, City Administration will provide an update
regarding the status of the project and efforts to raise funds for the
project.
ALTERNATIVES: It appears the Commission has the following alternatives
concerning the issue at hand.  The Commission may:
1.Accept the report and provide feedback and direction to City
Administration, in conjunction with the other users of the facility,
regarding the reportís recommendations.
RECOMMENDATION: City Administration recommends that the City Commission
direct City Administration to pursue the recommendations as outlined in the
report.  Should the Commission and users wish to implement these
recommendations, particularly those concerning the various inter-local
agreements, City Administration will bring those forward to future
legislative sessions with the affected entities.
POSSIBLE MOTION: As this is a Policy Session, no formal motion is necessary.
 
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