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City and Humane Society to Part Ways

MJHS

It's all done but the paperwork.  The City of Moose Jaw and the Moose Jaw Humane Society are calling it quits after failing to re-negotiate their service contract.

This fall we told you that the shelter issued an ultimatum, saying that if they didn't get a contract by the end of December, they would stop taking phone calls to deal with problem animals on behalf of the city. That time has apparently come early due to the holidays as City Manager Matt Noble explains they're making arrangements this week to start providing that service themselves.
City Manager Matt Noble discusses the contract with Chris Rasmussen

"City Hall has been working on a plan because we did received notice from the Humane Society that they no longer wished to venture with the city on delivery of those services." said Noble. "So, we're going to be re-visiting our prior model where the City of Moose Jaw will provide impound service and the collection of problem animals."

Noble was disappointed a new contract could not be reached but says the shelter was asking for upwards of three times more than what they receive right now to collect, shelter and then deal with problem dogs, as per the contract. That contract was worth $118,000 a year according to figures provided by the Humane Society this fall.

So, as of January 1st, if we have problems with stray dogs, we're asked to call City Hall and they will send out a staff member who will be trained to handle the animal, that will then be housed at one of several local, privately owned kennels for five days before being put down in accordance with the bylaw.

However, since we first brought you this story, Noble has now clarified the city's position by saying they will explore the options available when it comes to finding the animals a home before euthanize them, such as the Humane Society, if they are still operating.

When asked what happens to animals that owners no longer want or take care of, Noble said the city is not going to provide care for surrendered animals and he was unsure if the Humane Society was going to continue to provide that service or not.  Sheltering animals wasn't part of their contract with the city as it was a service they offered to residents and paid for through revenue and donations.

We're expecting to hear from the shelter's board later today but in an interview with Board President John LaBuick earlier this fall, he explains their contract has only increased by about $18,000 over the last six years.

"Go back to 2007 and look at your bills. Look at what it cost you for gas in 2007, just for your vehicle, look at your water bill, look at your sewer bill. By city council's own admission, some of those have gone up by 90%. We're paying that increase!"

The Humane Society has been without a contract for over a year.

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