HUMBOLDT — Humboldt City Council members will decide in August whether they will send unclaimed dogs and cats collected by local police officers to the new Allen County Animal Rescue Facility.
The council was given a proposed contract Monday by Art Chapman, president of ACARF’s board of directors.
ACARF, which is opening its doors in LaHarpe this month, is eager to enter contracts with as many communities as possible, although Chapman noted that the shelter likely will be filled to capacity within days.
He said several animals already have been taken to the ACARF building.
In addition to finding homes for healthy dogs and cats, ACARF’s other long-term benefit to the area will be education, particularly with younger pet owners, through classes, workshops and literature, Chapman said.
The facility also will provide microchips, which would greatly increase the chances a lost pet is reunited with its owner, as well as spaying and neutering, Chapman said. ACARF also could assist communities with their annual dog tag renewal programs.
ACARF is proposing the city spend $75 for each dog and cat taken from Humboldt to the shelter. From there, ACARF is responsible for feeding and boarding costs, as well as spaying, neutering or otherwise treating the animals.
Humboldt’s biggest issue is the cost of entering a contract with ACARF, council member Sean McReynolds said.
The city spent $3,367 to have 124 unclaimed animals euthanized in 2009, according to city records. Had those animals been taken to ACARF, the cost would have been $9,300.
“The question is if it’s worth it for us to spend another $6,000,” McReynolds said.
Currently, Humboldt holds animals locally for three days. Animals can be claimed by their owners for $25. For those wanting to adopt strays from the city, costs are $25, plus vaccination and registration costs.
Chapman noted that if Humboldt accepts his proposal, pet owners would pay $75 — enough to reimburse the city — if their animals are picked up and taken to the ACARF shelter.
While ACARF cannot be considered a “no-kill” facility — sickly and vicious dogs and cats would have to be put down, Chapman said — it will strive to become a “low-kill” center.
ACARF administrators would work with other animal shelters in the state, or even elsewhere in the country, to find homes for the unclaimed animals. Still, if over-crowding became a hazard, some healthy animals may be euthanized, Chapman said.
Other animals, such as raccoons, deer or skunks, would be handed over to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
It likely will take two or three years before ACARF is established, and enough residents are educated on pet ownership, that residents will notice fewer stray dogs and cats.
COUNCIL members were introduced to Ryan Collier, who joined the Humboldt Police Department earlier this month. Collier, a Fort Scott native, has 10 years’ experience, having worked previously in the Fort Scott, Pleasanton and Mound City police departments.