Archive for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bonner to cut down on animal control costs

December 14, 2011

The city of Bonner Springs will look into using a growing animal rescue group to help reduce animal control costs.

The Bonner Springs City Council discussed the matter in a workshop prior to its meeting Monday at the request of members of Bonner Animal Rescue. Police Chief John Haley recommended some changes to the city ordinances that could save some funds. But members of Bonner Animal Rescue also spoke before the council, saying they could reduce the city’s cost for impounded animals even further.

Haley said currently, when animals are impounded, they are kept for at least seven working days before adoption or euthanasia if the owner is known or can be found. If the owner is unknown, the animal is kept for five working days. Owners who pick up their animals are responsible for boarding costs and an impound fee.

The cost for boarding animals varies by animal, with dogs costing $15 per day and cats costing $10 to $15 per day. The city pays costs for unclaimed animals. The impounded pets are boarded at a local veterinarian’s office.

When animals are unclaimed and ineligible for adoption, the city pays euthanasia costs ranging from $35 to $100, depending on the size of the animal. Haley said he contacted the Humane Society of Kansas City, which agreed to take animals scheduled to be euthanized at a cost of no more than $45 per animal, which could save the city $600 a year.

But Bonner Animal Rescue members requested the city work with them, rather than the Humane Society of Kansas City, to further decrease costs.

Janet Crouch, a volunteer for the group, said although the group was small, its ability to provide animal control services was growing. She said on Nov. 20, members discovered a hoarding situation at a home in Bonner and within 10 days removed 28 dogs and 58 cats without involving the police.

Using a nationwide network of animal rescue groups, they have now found homes for all but 29 of the cats, Crouch said. She said the organization calculated it had saved the city $12,000 in boarding costs.

“We have done so much; we are a small group with a lot of impact,” she said. “… We’re only here to help the city; we help you financially. We want to be that valued resource that you use.”

Though no formal motions were made, council members agreed the organization could work with city staff to see if the city could develop a relationship with the organization for animal control measures.

Council member Racheal Haas was absent from the meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Conducted a 10-minute executive session prior to the meeting to discuss personnel issues.

• Reviewed a final map of areas in which the discharge of firearms would be permitted in a workshop prior to the meeting. The council will consider the final approval of amendments to the ordinance for the discharge of firearms at its Jan. 9 meeting.

• Discussed creating a $20 fine for those who do not remove ice or snow from their sidewalks after a snowstorm. When the court costs are added to the fine, an offender could be charged $56. However, the time residents have to clear the sidewalks would be increased from 12 to 48 hours after a storm, and the city would wait one more season to enforce the law to allow for informational materials to be sent to the public. Thus, the first fines would be issued in the 2012-2013 winter season, and only to repeat offenders at first. Every offender would be ticketed beginning in the 2013-2014 winter season. The city attorney said there was no way to enforce the law requiring sidewalks to be cleared of snow without a fine of some sort. The council would consider final approval of the fine Jan. 9.

• Approved all consent agenda items, with council members George Cooper and Jeff Harrington abstaining from checks related to their employment in the claims for city operations.

• Approved a final payment of $7,172 to KDOT for the Woodend Bridge Project.

• Approved water and sewer impact fees for new hook-ups effective Jan. 1.

• Approved 6-1 ordinances establishing water and sewer rates effective April 1, with Cooper voting in opposition.

• Approved 6-1 amendments to parks and recreation program/league fees, removal of redundant fees and changes to facility rental fees, with Reeves voting in opposition.

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