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Author Topic: uh oh waco !!!!!  (Read 1703 times)
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« on: January 10, 2014, 09:30:02 am »

  Bellmead to look at animal shelter alternatives


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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:01 am |  Updated: 1:06 am, Wed Jan 8, 2014.   

 By REGINA DENNIS rdennis@wacotrib.com 

 
 

Bellmead leaders want to explore alternatives for housing its stray animals as the city contemplates whether to follow suit with Waco’s new spay-neuter animal ordinance.
 
About 25 people attended a public hearing Tuesday night about the ordinance, which would require all pets to be spayed, neutered and microchipped.




Waco’s ordinance, which took effect Jan. 1, is meant to curb the local stray animal population and reduce the number of animals taken into its animal shelter. Bellmead is one of 14 area cities that contracts with Waco to take in its strays.

City Manager Bo Thomas said Waco has given the cities until Feb. 1 to adopt the animal ordinance in order to continue bringing strays to the facility.

If Bellmead does not adopt the ordinance, Thomas said its only option would be to create its own animal shelter, which he estimated would cost about $100,000 to start up.

After more than 90 minutes of discussion with residents, animal advocates and city staff members, Councilman Kevin Wilson suggested that Bellmead reach out to other area cities to see whether there was interest in opening and operating a joint animal control shelter.

Wilson said he also had some concerns that the ordinance would cause an extra financial burden for residents on a fixed income, such as senior citizens.

“I want to pass the ordinance right now, if you ask Kevin, but I have to answer to (the constituents), and they’re telling me they want to explore other options,” Wilson said.

Neighboring Lacy Lakeview has not adopted the ordinance yet, but is expected to take up the issue at a January council meeting, Thomas said.

Hewitt, Woodway, Bruceville-Eddy, Robinson, Riesel and Marlin each adopted Waco’s animal ordinance in December, he said.

“Most of the communities that we’ve talked about here, they’re all trying to move in this effort toward keeping the contract with Waco,” Thomas said. “I haven’t had one conversation with one community that said, ‘No, we’re absolutely not moving in that direction.’ ”

Bellmead previously ran its own animal shelter, but Thomas said that facility would need various repairs to become a state-certified animal shelter, including HVAC upgrades, interior renovations and new outdoor pens to hold animals.

The city also would need to hire a new animal control officer to staff the facility.

Thomas estimated total startup costs to reopen the Bellmead facility at about $100,000, including the salary for the new animal control officer.

Ongoing annual operating costs could reach $60,000 per year, he said. He also said the current center can hold about seven dogs, which likely would not accommodate Bellmead’s needs.

In contrast, the city paid $20,029 to Waco last year for 322 Bellmead animals taken to the shelter between Jan. 1 and Dec. 4.

“I feel like we could ill afford $100,000 to get this thing started and then spend additional money to run the thing,” Mayor U.F. Roberts said.

Councilman Carlos Luna said the deadline from Waco doesn’t give Bellmead much time to explore other options, including planning and raising money to fund a separate shelter.

Thomas said he wasn’t aware of another shelter in or near McLennan County to take strays, but he noted that the council could choose to approve the animal ordinance and repeal it later if the city decides to operate or use a separate shelter.

“I feel like our backs are against the wall at the moment,” Luna said. “We need to make an immediate decision, whether we reverse that decision later after we explore some more options, but we need to make an immediate decision.”

Councilman Doss Youngblood said he would prefer to approve the ordinance and continue using Waco’s animal shelter.

“If you present some other cities (who would join us), I might change my mind, but the major cities all seem to have (fallen) in line with Waco,” Youngblood said.

Some residents in the public hearing felt it should be up to pet owners to decide whether their animals are spayed or neutered.

“Most people do keep up with their animals,” Paul Pena said. “There are those few that don’t, I realize that, and it’s not an easy task. Still, ultimately, I feel as an owner I should have that sole option” of deciding to spay or neuter a pet.

Some residents also had questions about how the ordinance would be enforced to ensure compliance.

Tina Patterson questioned whether it would allow animal control officers to enter residents’ yards to examine whether pets had been spayed or neutered.

Thomas noted that the city doesn’t have enough animal control officers to check for violators, but that residents whose animals are captured for running loose in a neighborhood will be required to pay for the pet to be microchipped and spayed or neutered to claim the animal from the shelter.

Bellmead currently requires residents to register their pets, but only 200 people had done so as of Dec. 1, according to estimates from the police department.

Patterson, who also leads the local chapter of Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, also argued that spay-neuter policies encourage more animals being “dumped” by pet owners who don’t wish to comply with the new ordinance, which would boost the number of animals taken in by the shelter.

“I feel like they are strong-arming all the surrounding communities and saying to us, ‘You’re going to comply with what we do or else,’ ” Patterson said.

Not all residents were opposed to the ordinance. Sandra White offered her support, saying that microchipping boosts the chances that a lost pet is united with its owner instead of being euthanized.

Thomas said 58 of the 322 Bellmead animals that were sent to the Waco animal shelter last year were euthanized.
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 02:27:06 am »

I know some boys with good cow dogs in some of those towns that are going to be mad as hell over this.
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A scared dog dont get no meat !
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