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City, humane society square off

By Staff | May 28, 2013

Blue Earth city councilman Glenn Gaylord has raised questions at recent meetings concerning the operation of the city’s animal pound.

At last Monday’s council meeting, members of the Faribault County Humane Society who have a contract with the city to operate the pound were present to respond to those concerns and fire back with some of their own.

“To say things are not working, I just don’t get that,” humane society member Stacy Thompson said.

Thompson explained how the group has made many improvements to the shelter using their own funds and monies that have been donated to them.

“We have put in new lights, a new door and window, air conditioner, new fence, cat cages and dog zip line,” she says. “Plus we drive all over the county to get animals, using our own vehicles and gas.”

Thompson added that since the humane society started running the animal shelter, they have adopted out 570 animals.

“We provide a valuable service to the community,” she pointed out. “There are a lot of happy people in the county. They see value in what we do. We are getting the job done.”

Gaylord responded that his concerns had to do with record keeping, and where the animals come from and go to.

“You are doing a wonderful job with the animals,” he told Thompson and the other members of the society who were at the meeting. “But we need the whole job done.”

He referred to keeping records on all the animals and sending out bills for the animals housed at the city pound.

“We need to know where these animals come from, where they go, and if any are dangerous and what happens to those that are,” Gaylord said. Thompson responded that they keep records on every animal.

Gaylord also said he was concerned that animals are coming in from all over the county and the city’s shelter is not large enough to hold that many.

Councilman John Huisman pointed out that the group is called the Faribault County Humane Society, not the Blue Earth Humane Society.

“So, of course they are picking up animals around the county, and adopting them out to people in many places,” Huisman says. “Not just in Blue Earth.”

Councilman John Gartzke got a round of applause from the full house at the meeting when he suggested that what is needed is to build a new, larger dog pound.

But, Gaylord didn’t like that idea.

“Then we will get even more animals from around the county,” he said. “And the taxpayers of Blue Earth will foot the bill for something used by all the cities.”

Huisman said he felt what was needed were more solutions, not rehashing the problems.

“We need cooperation, positive thinking and compromise,” he says. “We need to go back to square one and deal with this.”

A meeting was set for this past Thursday, after this week’s deadline for the Faribault County Register, where Huisman, Gaylord, Mayor Rick Scholtes, the city attorney and city administrator will meet with representatives of the humane society to discuss the issues and develop a new contract between the two groups.

The previous contract expired in 2012.

“We want to continue to work with you,” Thompson told the council. “But we are feeling that we are being maligned.”

Several other members of the humane society also spoke at the meeting.