LOCAL NEWS

Animal Shelter Contract Postponed

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

The City of Truth or Consequences has contracted with the Sierra Animal Clinic & Shelter since 2006. At the Tuesday, March 13 meeting, city commissioners discussed a fee increase to that contract and decided not enough information was included.

The clinic is being sold by Dr. Bill Cardwell to Dr. Danielle Dawkins, according to a report prepared by the police department.

The service includes sheltering “all stray or unwanted animals in order to prevent the dumping, abandonment or inhumane disposal of such animals.”

The shelter is to charge animal owners “whenever possible,” says the contract, for animals running at-large, placed in quarantine for rabies observation, placed for safekeeping “arising from the owner’s temporary inability to care for the animal(s).”

The shelter “agrees to provide for the storage and sanitary disposal of dead animals either generated by the shelter or brought to the shelter by Animal Control. This is not a public service, and livestock and large game animals are not included in this agreement,” says the contract.

Because the city landfill is closing August 2012, the disposal of animals is going to be more expensive, states the shelter letter written by Dr. Dawkins.

Dawkins proposes a $500 a month increase for animal disposal, which could go up, since a cremation machine may have to be purchased, said Truth or Consequences Police Captain James Morgan.

TCPD Administrative Assistant Malissa Austin-Cordell said a cremation machine that could handle 100 pounds costs about $10,000, while other cost more than $100,000.

Dr. Dawkins also proposes increasing shelter service fees about $500 a month. The contract monthly charge would rise from $2,500 a month to $3,500 a month.

The contract alludes to the city allowing the shelter access to information, such as “data, reports, records, maps, etc., as are existing, available and necessary for the carrying out of the work outlined in this agreement” at no charge. The shelter is also to provide access to the State Auditor, city’s auditor and the city to “books, documents, papers and records of the contractor, which are directly pertinent to this agreement.”

“All records connected with this agreement will be maintained in a central location by the city and will be maintained for a period of three years from the official date of closeout of the contract,” states the contract.

Morgan said that his research shows “this is a good deal.”

But city commissioners wanted more information.

Also, the $3,500 fee is dependent on the county also renewing their contract at a higher price, Capt. Morgan reported Dr. Dawkins as saying.

The city commission asked County Commissioner Walter Armijo if the county had renewed their contract. Armijo was not sure.

County Manager Administrative Assistant Kristin Armijo, in an interview Friday, March 16, said the county has been paying the same $2,500 per month fee to the shelter. She said County Manager Janet Porter-Carrejo has received a new contract from Dr. Dawkins, which increases fees to $3,500 per month. Carrejo has not put the contract before her commissioners, “because she hasn’t had time to discuss the fees with Dr. Dawkins,” said Kristin Armijo.

Dr. Dawkins’ contract suggests the new fees begin July 1, 2012.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Animal Shelter Contract Postponed

  1. I’m not seeing anything about a “Records Custodian” for the public records, which as the agent running the City’s animal shelter. Without a designated Records Custodian, by law the City Clerk becomes the record custodian. There are more public records than simply the “books” or the “contracts.”
    In other words, there’s a potential problem here that could end up quite expensive for the City as they will be responsible for those public records.

    Posted by Deborah Toomey | March 21, 2012, 2:58 am
  2. Why would the taxpayers of Truth or Consequences want to pay for a crematory when other rural counties and municipalities make money off of their dead animals? Environmental agencies have long approved of managed composting programs that turn corpses into cash in financially-strapped areas throughout the West.

    The process produces no odors or flying insects, and yields a highly marketable compost that can be packaged and sold to farmers and ranchers throughout the nutrient-poor areas of Sierra County… and at a price and quality no out-of-town commercial manufacturer could ever match.

    Over the past several years, insider contracts with local government have succeeded in throwing away millions of dollars for substandard materials(SEE:chip-sealed streets) and services(SEE:unauthorized overpayment of contracts). Is it really in the best interest of the city to continue to waste your money on dead dogs and cats, when there is actually another option that could produce a revenue stream?

    Think about it.

    Posted by Durable Brad | March 24, 2012, 5:50 am

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