Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Smyrna Police Chief Comments on Dog Control Change

In Kent County, it's only be a few days since the change in animal control vendors from Kent County SPCA, who is located within the county, to the new vendor Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary.  Safe Haven is a no-kill shelter located in our southern county of Sussex.  Safe Haven was in the process of what they termed as a "soft open" for their sanctuary, which meant that they were open by appointment only and had a limited number of animals and staff.

Kent County Levy Court, which is our county commission, provided notice that there would be a transition period of several weeks before Safe Haven would be fully operational.

The several week transition is needed to allow them time to purchase vehicles, hire ACO's, hire sufficient kennel staff, hire or contract a veterinarian, and train everyone involved.  They also need to find or build a location in Kent County to kennel the dogs during their hold period, so county residents don't have to drive 40-50 miles to their home location.  Alot to do in a short period of time, and alot of cash outlay for a $830,000 annual contract.  At least that was the amount discussed at the recent commission meeting.

Since this contract was negotiated under an emergency procurement process, rather than the typical Request For Proposal process, residents don't have a public posting of the terms of an RFP as we did for the previous Kent County SPCA bid, so at this point none of us can say for sure whether the same terms were adhered to.  Maybe the county will eventually post the contract to provide the transparency they claim to want from others.

Below is the comment by the police chief of the town of Smyrna.  On first glance it may appear to be a transitional issue, but since there has not been any indication a building has been located in Kent County yet for hold period kenneling, this may be a longer term issue.  If ACO's are coming from Safe Haven 40 miles away, rather than Kent County SPCA who was located centrally within Kent County, I wouldn't expect that the police are going to sit around their stations waiting.  So it appears there may be additional costs to the municipalities to find temporary housing for dogs found. 

Kent County/SPCA breakup hurts town (Smyrna)
Police Chief Wil Bordley informed council that the impasse between Kent County Levy Court and the Kent County SPCA regarding dog control hurts the town. 
“As of July 1, Kent County is not supporting the SPCA so they [SPCA] cut their services to us,” Bordley said. 
Typically, if Smyrna Police found a dog or cat they would take it back to the station until the SPCA could pick up the animal. Bordley said this process has been done for six or seven years, but that’s no longer an option.
Bordley has been in contact with local kennels for help on a short-term basis but no matter what the final decision is, he said it’ll cost the town. -
 I wonder what Smyrna will do with the cats referenced above???   I guess they don't realize that the county only pays for dog control.