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Humane society wants three-year contract, more money

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Jake Magee
Thursday, December 7, 2017

JANESVILLE—The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin was the only organization to bid on Janesville's animal control contract, and it wants a three-year contract with two annual increases.

Under the humane society's proposal, the contract would cost $125,000 the first year and increase 3 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in 2020.

Police Chief Dave Moore, whose department issued the request, hadn't read the proposal as of press time and declined to comment.

Since 2014, the city has paid the humane society a $125,000 flat fee to take in any stray animals Janesville police or residents turn in. The fee has not changed because the humane society promised to keep its services affordable, Executive Director Brett Frazier has said.

About 25 percent of the animals the humane society handles come from Janesville. When personnel, vehicles, equipment and supplies are taken into account, the estimated cost to the humane society to care for Janesville's stray animals is about $217,000, according to the proposal.

"Because the shelter is fortunate to receive donations from citizens, and because those donations subsidize a portion of our operating costs, the humane society is able to provide these stray holding and animal care services as described in this proposal at a reduce cost," the proposal reads.

Moore said representatives from the Janesville Police Department, city manager's office, city clerk's office and city attorney's office will meet Friday to discuss the humane society's proposal. They could accept it, reject it or negotiate with the humane society.

"We will assess that proposal and see what our next decision is," he said.

A decision will likely be made by Friday, Dec. 15, Moore said.

Frazier said he hopes the city realizes the value the humane society provides Janesville and its residents.

"We've done our part to keep our fees affordable and consistent... What we're hoping is that in good faith we move forward with the city having mutual understanding that we offer a service the citizens want, that city departments want, and we do it affordably, and in exchange for that, the city supports our efforts by helping us with that 10 percent of our budget that comes from the city of Janesville contract," he said.

If the city rejects the humane society's proposal, it's possible the city would have no animal control services until an alternative was found, Moore said. He said he wasn't suggesting that outcome.

"I certainly want to have systems in place come Jan. 1 so we don't have officers called to a circumstance where we don't have any answers," he said.

The humane society wants a system in place, too, Frazier said.

"… Our nonprofit mission is to help animals, and if someone comes to our door, we help them. I don't want to think that the city of Janesville or any municipality would take advantage of that and assume that, 'Hey, the nonprofit will keep doing it because that's what they do,'" Frazier said.

Right now, the city pays $10,000 a year for a vendor other than the humane society to provide emergency veterinarian services. If an animal is struck by a car and needs immediate attention, it must first go to the emergency vet vendor before the humane society, Moore said.

For an additional $10,000 annually, the humane society could subcontract with a third-party vendor to provide such services, according to the humane society's proposal.

Earlier this year, the city proposed spending only $62,500 on animal control in 2018. The humane society told city officials it could provide services only for the full $125,000.

After hours of discussion between humane society and city officials, the Janesville City Council eventually voted to allocate $125,000 for animal control. Instead of giving the contract to the humane society, the city opted in November to issue a request for proposals to see if other vendors would be interested in providing animal control services.

No one was.

In 2011, Janesville and Beloit issued a joint request for proposals for animal control, shelter and care services. At that time, too, only the humane society expressed interest in providing animal control services for Janesville.



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