One of the greatest challenges facing local governments with regards to animal control is the capture and housing of stray or missing animals. Recent cancellation of of state contracts by both the SPCA and First State Animal Shelter has exacerbated the problem and resulted in local governments looking for new and alternative options. These cancellations were mainly due to a lack of staff and funds to these organizations resulting in a proposed failure to fulfill their commitment to their stated contracts.
So what are the options currently available for animal control:
First, local government will need to employ their own animal control employees. Since the abrupt cancellation of the above mentioned contracts, availability of trained and experienced staff members looking for employment should not be a problem. However, finding the funds to pay for this new staff contingent could be problematic for some local governments.
Animal control employees will need to fulfill a variety of different functions:
- Capture and control of stray animals.
- Inspection of animal shelters and kennels.
- Prevention of spread of disease such as rabies.
- Investigating cases related to animal cruelty and enforcing the relevant laws.
- Investigating complaints regarding dangerous pets and animals.
Private shelters and kennels that operate for profit are one of the options available to house stray or lost animals for a short period of time until they can be adopted. However, this will come at an additional expense to local government but does fulfill the no-kill policy. In fact, one of the reasons cited by the First State Animal Shelter for cancelling their contract is a move to return to a no-kill policy.
Another option, to lower costs and to finding temporary housing for stray animals, is building the necessary facilities. However, this is a long term outlook, with funding being the greatest obstacle.
The other solution to housing is to pass the existing contracts onto other animal shelter facilities. This should create no additional cost but will mean that each local government will need to provide contracts to different private owned entities.
3. Veterinary Services
One of the functions of animal control is to provide medical services to stray animals as well as pets belonging to those who cannot afford to provide veterinary care to their pets. Basic care, such as the provision of vaccinations and sterilization of animals is essential as is immediate or emergency care for injuries or illnesses.
While some animal shelters do provide these services (at an additional cost), it is more than likely that veterinarians may need to be contracted to provide these functions at low or no cost. This of course, will add additional cost to the budgetary concerns for animal control for local governments. If a private service for animal removal is something you are looking for then start with the site adriennemichaud.com which talks about this topic.
Funding seems to be the greatest obstacle and factor affecting the options available to local governments to provide effective animal control solutions. However, it must be remembered that most of this funding will come from the money that was formerly allocated to the cancelled state contracts.