Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Another Example of No-Kill Cost to Taxpayers

Today it was announced that Delaware SPCA will continue the animal control contract for the city of Wilmington.  Not half as much fanfare as when they said they were going to drop it, but that could be due to the drama in Kent County.

This news is important because it further proves the point that "no-kill" and CAPA don't result in lower costs, as the advocates try to claim.  These "no-kill" initiatives in fact result in large increases in costs.  "No-kill" didn't cost less in Austin.  It didn't cost less in Washoe County.  And now everyone can see it isn't costing less in Delaware.  In fact, there already appears to be a significant upward trend.  It seems astounding to see the kind of budget increases some communities are taking on, especially when other government budget lines have been cut over the last several years due to the economy.

Delaware SPCA - Wilmington, DE
(54% increase over 5 yrs, 37% increase over last year)
(Delaware SPCA became "No-Kill" in 2008, CAPA enacted 2010)
2008  $223,887
2009  $246,049
2010  $246,049
2011  $251,970
2012  $345,000

Washoe Regional Animal Services - Nevada
(No-Kill Began 2006 - 28% over 5 years, but doesn't take into account NHS losses)
(Non-profit partner NHS expenses increased $1.5 million (69%) the first year  in 2006 and have remained at the $3.6 million level per year since - As a result, the organization has sustained $3.4 million in losses in 5 years)
2004   $2,920,972.00
2005   $3,179,173.00
2006   $3,318,141.00
2007   $4,132,631.00
2008   $4,512,437.00
2009   $4,428,917.00
2010   $4,244,328.00

Austin Animal Services - Texas
(60% increase over 5 years, annual increases every year of 11-15%)
2008-09 Actual         $ 5,397,428
2009-10 Actual         $ 6,008,659
2010-11 Estimated    $ 6,883,679
2011-12 Proposed    $ 7,612,186
2012-13 Requested   $ 8,612,000

The Contradictions
I've previously discussed the fact that the "no-kill" sales brochures contradict reality, so there's no need to slay that dragon again.  What I find interesting is our own local twist on it.  Below is an excerpt from a letter that Faithful Friends issued after the news came out that Delaware SPCA was dropping the city of Wilmington animal control contract.  
"Dog control contracts are a serious responsibility and come with many burdens.  The
government must prioritize fully funding these contracts if they expect nonprofits to bear this
responsibility.  Governments that choose to provide dog control services themselves must
fully fund the service to ensure a humane system for the dogs who rely on us for their safety.
No Kill supporters and community advocates must make their voices heard with City and county officials if they want dog to be handled by nonprofits and governments with No Kill standards" - Faithful Friends Letter 2-8-12  
Then we look at the situation in Kent County, where yet again you can see the divide that has been created by CAPA.  Whereas the no-kill organizations we willing to shout out and get more funds for Delaware SPCA in Wilmington, the opposite was true in Kent County.  Here the following comment was made.
Mr. Petit de Mange said discus­sions with the shelter's executive di­rector Anne Gryczon indicated that they could provide the county with the dog control services they are required by the state to give at the price that has been budgeted in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget - $829,606...."CAPA is a very basic standard of care," she said. "It really didn't add much cost, or it shouldn't at least." - Anne Gryczon, Safe Haven, Delaware State News
While most would think that Kent County residents would be happy that the contract is staying within the budget, but there are a number of us that think the county has taken us down the wrong path.  First and foremost, Safe Haven's original operating expense projections was $750,000 per year.  That was to operate as a sanctuary that did not have ACO expenses, trucks, additional vet expenses with injured and sick stray animals coming in, a larger number of animals, etc.   And another substantial expense is a building to house strays in Kent County during their hold period.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall.  The question will be, will they come back mid year looking for more funds, or will there be a substantial increase requested next year as seen in Wilmington.  Only time will tell.  The nice thing about being able to publish this is that it allows people across the country to watch, and see what the result is when it happens.  It also allows the public to see the cost increases associated with another "no-kill" community in the city of Wilmington.

I could be wrong, but either Safe Haven's original projections were wrong, or they have just low-balled their way into the Kent County Levy Court's sticker shocked embrace.

I still believe the ultimate goal is to "kill the competition".   That's why we saw the 2 contracts play out so differently.  Let's just hope they don't kill our wallets in the process, like other communities have seen.  Especially at a time when our home values are lowered and many are without a paycheck.  I'm sure it won't be long before we are seeing the "cry wolf" articles, and the bargain basement "free" animals going out the door. But most of all, let's hope those "free" animals go into safe homes.