Iola reaches pact with ACARF

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July 28, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Noting that the city pays more to incarcerate animals than it does people, Iola commissioners agreed Tuesday to begin sending dogs and cats collected by the city to the new Allen County Animal Rescue Facility in LaHarpe.
The agreement will end the city’s decades-long pact with Iola Animal Clinic, where dogs and cats were taken to be held for three days or so and then euthanized.
Noting ACARF is a “low-kill” facility, the emphasis will be on finding homes for the dogs and cats, Mayor Bill Maness said.
“It seems to be in the best interest of the citizens in general,” Maness said, in which the city would pay less to have an animal adopted than it does to have the animal eventually kill-ed.
Under the city’s agreement with ACARF, Iola will pay the facility $75 for each dog and cat taken to the LaHarpe shelter.
In comparison, Iola paid Iola Animal Clinic at least $85 for each dog it euthanized, and at least $69 for each cat it put down. Those costs occasionally were higher because some animals were held longer than the three business days required before they were euthanized.
Once the city pays ACARF the $75 fee, the animal is ACARF’s responsibility for food, medicine and shelter expenses.
Art Chapman and Jeanne Cloud, representing ACARF’s Board of Directors, fielded a number of questions by commissioners.
A private citizen who brings in a stray dog or cat will be charged $20; $35 if they were the pets’ owners.
Chapman noted that in special circumstances, such as if a person brings in a mother dog with a litter of pups, he still would be charged only $20 if the mother was a stray.
In addition, if an Iolan wants to reclaim an animal taken by the city to ACARF, he must pay $75, which then is reimbursed to the city, Chapman said.
Cloud also noted that some may fuss over being charged $20 to drop off an animal they do not own.
“Unfortunately, we need money to feed and care for these animals,” Cloud said.
Chapman estimated animals under ACARF’s care would be sheltered a minimum of three weeks before they were deemed ready for adoption. That would put ACARF’s costs per animal at more than $100, Cloud said.
All animals adopted from ACARF will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and given a clean bill of health.
ACARF has presented identical proposals to each of the communities in Allen County, and Kincaid in Anderson County. Iola is the third, and by far the largest, community to reach an agreement.
“We’ve been working toward this for 16 years,” Cloud said.
In reaching its agreement with ACARF, the city must give Iola Animal Clinic 60 days notice that its contract will be terminated. As soon as that time passes, the animals will be sent to ACARF.
The ACARF pact also led once again to discussions about the city’s animal control practices.
Iola no longer has an animal control officer. Any stray or unruly animals are handled by police officers.
If a wild animal needs to be removed, such as a skunk, opossum or deer, the caller is directed to contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks or other groups equipped to handle such creatures.
Iola Police Chief Jared Warner noted that Iola spent more money on having animals sheltered in 2009, $21,372, than it did to have prisoners housed in the Allen County Jail or another correctional facility, $18,889.

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