News Local

City to sign up with OSPCA

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

The city of Pembroke is signing up with the Ontario SPCA for its animal shelter needs.

 

On Tuesday, the finance and administration committee voted to enter into an agreement with the Ontario SPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre, which recently relocated from Petawawa to the city's industrial park.

City CAO Terry Lapierre said for many years the municipality has contracted with local private sector companies for the provision of animal shelter services. City staff has been working with provincial representatives of the OSPCA for some time on the potential relocation of its shelter from Petawawa to Pembroke.

“With the success of these efforts, the community now has a viable alternative to a private shelter,” he said.

Lapierre said the OSPCA is a known, trusted organization which has significant experience in the operation of shelters across the province and locally. The organization already provides such services for Deep River, Petawawa and Laurentian Valley Township. The larger, more modern facility in Pembroke would facilitate the addition of the city as an additional client.

“When the current contract with the city’s animal control contractor was written, staff provided for the potential withdrawal of shelter services without financial penalty to the municipality,” he said.

The current contractor is Animal Control Services, owned and operated by Michael Street. He also provides shelter services as part of his contract.

Lapierre said the current contractor has no issues with the city transferring shelter responsibilities to the OSPCA if it is council's decision. He added it is important to note that no other terms of the contract with the current service provider will change, which remains in place until May 31, 2019, when it expires.

In terms of cost, the CAO said the city currently pays $5,100 for shelter services as provided by the animal control contractor. The cost to transfer this responsibility to OSPCA would be based on a fee of $325 per animal intake - dog or cat - from within the city of Pembroke.

“Based on figures provided by the animal control contractor, this would represent an approximate annual cost of $5,600 or an increase of $500 per year over the current cost,” Lapierre said. Any medical care required including that provided by a veterinarian would be additional to this amount.

Pembroke councillors were all in favour of engaging the OSPCA for its shelter and care services, as long as any additional medical costs are picked up by the pet's owners as necessary.

Coun. Christine Reavie said she is happy to see the OSPCA getting involved, and knows a lot of residents will be happy to see this service go to this animal agency.

Coun, Pat Lafreniere also voiced her support for this, as long as the city isn't stuck with vet's bills.

“I don't want animals to suffer, but I don't want the city to pay for veterinary services either,” she said.

Lapierre said the vet would be called in only if the OSPCA feels it is warranted, such as if the animal is injured or ill when brought to the shelter. He said the pet's owner would be sent the bill for the vet. If no owner comes forward, the city will cover it, and the pet will be put up for adoption.

Mayor Michael LeMay said he is definitely in support of this, and thanked Lapierre for his work in helping the shelter relocate to the city.

A bylaw finalizing the deal between the OSPCA and the city will be placed before council Nov. 21 for its approval.

SUhler@postmedia.com