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Pound talk takes over council once more

By Staff | Jul 28, 2013

Once again, the Blue Earth City Council spent quite a bit of time at a meeting trying to hammer out a lease agreement with the Faribault County Humane Society concerning the operation of the city’s animal pound.

And, while they inched closer to closing the deal, there still are several areas of contention.

At July’s only regular meeting, Councilman Glenn Gaylord once again voiced his concerns over taking in animals from all over the county.

“They (other towns in the county) can dump their animals on us,” Gaylord says. “That means they don’t have to do anything about these issues, like building a larger pound.”

He adds that the council is to represent the people of Blue Earth.

“We need to do what is best for the city,” he adds.

Mayor Rick Scholtes says the new agreement has a clause that enables the city to work out agreements with other entities, including the sheriff’s office, and can charge the county and other cities for housing their animals at the pound in Blue Earth.

Scholtes presented a new version of the lease agreement that included changes which had been brought up at a previous meeting. However, Staci Thompson of the humane society said her group has not yet seen the updated version of the agreement.

“Our board will have to look at it and vote on it,” she says.

That will have to come after a vote of the City Council, which did not happen at the meeting on Monday, July 15. More changes are still being added to the document.

Among those changes are how the animals are tracked and documented. That duty is being transferred to City Hall. The council previously said they want to know where the animals come from and where they go.

Getting all animals a rabies vaccination as soon as they come into the pound is another item under debate. So is licensing all the animals.

Adding into the concerns of animal control is the recent resignation of Todd Heenan, who has been serving as animal control officer for the sheriff’s department as well as for Blue Earth and several other towns in the county.

“The police department is handling it (animal control) right now,” City Administrator Kathy Bailey says, referring to the job of picking up stray animals. “We will see if the sheriff’s department is hiring a new person and go from there.”

Thompson told the council that the pound has handled 75 animals so far this year and that 15 of those were claimed by their owners while the others were adopted or fostered out.

The pound is able to hold three dogs at a time, but they would like to try and fit in a fourth kennel.

“We have not turned away any dogs,” she says. “We move them out to foster homes. Never have we not had room for a dog.”

They have turned down taking in cats, however.

“We get calls to come take someone’s cat, and we can’t do it,” she says.

The city pays the humane society $5 per day per animal to take care of the pound.

“We are not getting rich doing this,” Thompson says. “We do it because we care about the animals.”

Scholtes suggested at the meeting that $5 is too low and that figure should also be looked at being increased for next year.