Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey council to discuss animal control contract

NEW PORT RICHEY — One month ago, SPCA Suncoast canceled its $35,000 animal control contract with the city, saying the money did not cover the true costs of taking in stray and abused animals.

Now, the agency has come back with a price tag it says does reflect those costs: $168,000.

That steep increase has led City Manager Tom O'Neill to recommend the city contract instead with Pasco County, which would charge the city about $85,000 a year for animal-control services.

City Council members tonight will discuss the issue at a work session.

SPCA's pitch? We are a no-kill-for-space shelter, and the county is not. Executive director Martha Murray said SPCA costs more than the county because the agency pays the long-term costs of caring for and housing sick and injured animals.

"That comes out to be a more expensive factor," she said. "It's a difference in our mission."

SPCA officials say in their proposal to the city that Pasco County Animal Control euthanizes 80 percent of the animals that it takes in each year.

According to county estimates, Pasco Animal Control euthanized about 65 percent of the nearly 5,000 dogs it took in during the 2006-07 fiscal year and 90 percent of the 6,785 cats.

But county officials say it's unfair to use those figures without some context: The county shelter must take in all animals, including those that are too aggressive to be adopted and those that are too sick to be saved.

"That definitely puts the pressure on animal services," said Adey Reyes, the county's director of community services, which includes animal control.

Murray, of the SPCA, said that $168,000 could be negotiable, though the agency could not match the county's price. She said the SPCA shelter, which had a $530,000 operating budget last year, is slowly getting out of its serious financial troubles, which had led to the layoff of nearly 70 percent of the shelter's employees since last fall.

Revenue from adoptions has picked up dramatically in recent months as the agency spiffed up its shelter and increased its marketing, she said.

If SPCA were to take on the city contract at a lower price, she said, "I endanger the entire program again."

But she isn't confident that the city will want to take on such a price increase. After all, the city already needs to cut about $523,000 in next year's budget.

O'Neill, the city manager, said his recommendation to go with county animal control was based largely on the SPCA's budget increase. But the SPCA's sudden decision last month to cancel its contract, which did not expire until December, also gave him pause.

"What's next? We thought we had a contract and then we didn't," he said. "From my perspective, we know the county is going to be there."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

>>FAST FACTS

Here's the deal

The City Council's work session follows its Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, which starts at 7 tonight at City Hall, 5919 Main St.

New Port Richey council to discuss animal control contract 05/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law

    Blogs

    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  3. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story

    National

    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Clearwater woman dies after losing control of SUV, flipping in Palm Harbor

    Accidents

    A Clearwater woman died early Tuesday morning when she lost control of her SUV and crashed in Palm Harbor, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former LSU/Countryside softball player AJ Andrews, now w/ Akron, is the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year history. (Courtesy of Rawlings)