The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 16, 2013

Talks with humane society continue

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — The contract between the Clinton Humane Society and the city remains a hot topic with city of Clinton officials.

Internal Operations Committee members on Tuesday discussed the contract and the $120,000 subsidy the Humane Society is requesting from the city.

Humane Society representatives have stated they could not operate without the $120,000, which is nearly double the $65,000 subsidy the city currently provides.

The item was discussed during last week’s committee of the whole meeting leading to the tentative approval of the subsidy. At-Large Council member Jennifer Graf noted the clause in the contract that gives either party 30 days to quit the agreement.  

The alternative to contracting with the Humane Society includes utilizing a local vet that would require a $40,000 subsidy and only accept animals brought in by the city’s animal control officer.

The city turned in approximately 300 animals last year while citizens brought in another 600, Humane Society officials reported.  

Another option the city is considering is a proposal from Humane Society representative Ed O’Neill that he claims would save the city up to $35,000. The city would need to approve the proposed contract and then work with O’Neil through a special committee over the course of less than 90 days to solidify what that plan is.   

Council member John Rowland said the city would need to decide what level of animal control to provide.

“At some point the City Council collectively as a group, has to decide what kind of services they want to provide to taking care of animals and the Humane Society.

I don’t have an indication at this point and I dont think you do either, what in the heck collectively the Council wants to do,” Rowland said.

Rowland also commented that the City Council needs to decide what it is willing to spend for whatever service it deems necessary.  

“That is exactly the issue,” City Attorney Jeff Farwell said. “Because with the vet you’re talking just what the ACO and the police officers pickup.  Whereas the Humane Society, given their numbers, it’s not just the animals we drop off, they have a lot more. So, your point is exactly what we’ve got to decide.”

The contract with the humane society expires on Jan. 31. The new contract will come before the Clinton City Council on Jan. 22 for a final vote.