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Rock Co. Humane Society wants clarification following new contracts

Published On: Jan 08 2013 06:00:32 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 08 2013 07:41:36 PM CST

The Rock County Humane Society said it's looking for clarification as to what its role will be in picking up stray animals in Janesville, Beloit and Edgerton.

City leaders in Beloit, Edgerton and Janesville signed contracts with the Dane County Humane Society agreeing to use that facility for impounded animals. That agreement went into effect on Jan. 1.

Rock County Humane Society Director Angela Rhodes said she was caught off guard by the new agreements, saying she was only aware that some municipalities were looking for boarding space for animals they seized from owners.

"We were surprised by the announcement. We hadn't received notification from the cities or Dane County," Rhodes said. "We have been told by both Janesville and Beloit that they are only bringing animals to Dane County that are seized owned animals or severely injured strays."

The Rock County Humane Society takes in about 3,000 animals every year. Since the facility doesn't have a veterinarian, it is unable to care for severely injured animals. Those animals will now be taken to the Dane County Humane Society.

Most of the municipalities cited cost as a reason for seeking services outside of Rock County.

Janesville city leaders said from 2008 to 2011, the fee paid to the shelter jumped from $96,000 to $190,000, but overall animal control costs dropped by $20,000 last year.

But Rhodes claims cost was not an issue.

"Costs for the cities went down in 2012 compared to 201, and we have cut those fees even further in 2013 by about 70 percent, so we are facing an extreme budget shortfall ourselves for this coming year," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said things will go on as normal at the facility, and she hoping the cities will communicate going forward.

"Our primary goal at this point is to aid in the unification of lost pets with very worried owners," Rhodes said.

Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt said he is maintaining a dual contract with Dane and Rock county facilities. Levitt said he is concerned about the cost, as well as the space and age of the Rock County Humane Society.

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