Wexford County Changes Their Animal Control Ordinance – and Other Updates

A lot has been happening with the Wexford County Animal Shelter in the last month. The animal shelter finally received the new cat cages on July 19th (a mandate by the Michigan Dept. of Agricuture); the Animal Control Advisory Committee had their first meeting; the shelter had a Pet Appreciation Day; the County Commissioners voted to change their animal control ordinance (without any input from the animal control advisory committee) and they received four bids from non-profit organizations who are interested in running the animal shelter.

The vote to approve the animal control ordinance changes passed 5-4 with Hilty, Deveraux, Goodwill, Taylor and Housler voting in favor and Mitchell, Howie, Fuscone and Colvin voting against. Click here for the ordinance changes.

The updated ordinance allows the county not to provide for funding for cats if there is no funding source for their care. It also has changes that allow for a non-profit to be able to take over the sheltering and animal control duties for the county although the Request For Proposal appears to ask for a bid on “sheltering services” only. The ordinance says provisions of the ordinance may be enforced by any Animal Control Officer contracted with the county and asks that the Board of Directors has future flexibility to determine the assignment of the animal control agency, and in whole or in part, to assign or contract such duties as permitted by Michigan law and deemed appropriate by the Board of Commissioners.

On July 31st, the county opened the bids from the non-profit groups who want to run the animal shelter. These groups include Stephanie’s Animal Rescue out of Lake City ($124,400 for the first year; $104,400 for the second year – sheltering services only); Pine Cone Farms of Traverse City ($173,790 per year – sheltering services only); CARE of Clare County ($85,000 a year – sheltering services only); and Our Promise Animal Rescue out of Florida ($147,440 for shelter services; $213,184 for shelter and ACO services combined with some fees returned to county if Our Promise gets the contract to do sheltering and animal control duties). There will be a meeting of the Finance Committee on August 8th to discuss the bids and a possible recommendation to the BOC, who will meet on August 21st. If the county decides to award a bid soon, it could happen by September 1st.

The cat cages have finally arrived at the animal shelter but they pretty small so volunteers are working on creative ideas to get the kitties more space with hammocks and ordering cat beds for them.

new cat cage

More information will follow about the cat beds and if donations will be needed to help give the cats more space or if smaller litter boxes might be needed.

Pet Appreciation Day at the Animal Shelter was on July 20th. Many volunteers and visitors showed up to meet the staff, local vets and the animals in the shelter. There were also raffles and the volunteers from the Wonderland Humane Society were there. One cat and one dog were adopted that day and a few more animals were also adopted later from people who had seen cats and dogs at the event.

photo by Judy Nichols

photo by Judy Nichols

photo by Judy Nichols

photo by Judy Nichols

The Animal Control Advisory Committee had their first meeting already and will have their next one on Tuesday, August 6th at Horizon books in Cadillac. They will discuss the Request for Proposals, the Committee Goals and Vision and have individual reports.

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