Dec 18, 2011 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
A new contract offered to local towns could decide the SPCA’s involvement in local animal cruelty investigations.
The contract asks each town in Onondaga County to pay 9 cents per resident in exchange for the SPCA’s assistance with animal cruelty situations and investigations.
Camillus — $2,175
Cicero — $2,846
Clay — $5,238
DeWitt — $2,325
Elbridge — $533
Lysander — $1,958
Manlius — $2,913
Marcellus — $559
Onondaga — $2,079
Skaneateles — $648
Spafford — $152
Syracuse — $10,162
Van Buren — $1,087
Total for Onondaga County — $39,084
The contract is new for 2012 in an effort to restore about $40,000 lost in county revenue last year, said Paul Morgan, executive director of the CNY SPCA. Previously, the county would extend $60,000 in profits from the dog licensing fees to the SPCA for three main services — cruelty investigations, rabies clinics and educational programs.
However, the state Department of Agriculture removed dog licensing from the state’s responsibilities, leaving all licensing in the hands of town clerks. This move removed profits made from licensing from the county’s budget, voiding the county’s contract with the SPCA.
For 2012, it is expected for the county to provide between $20,000 and $30,000 to the SPCA for rabies clinics and handling rabid animals and educational programs. The county will not be supporting the SPCA in cruelty investigations, Morgan said.
“We reached out to all the municipalities and said ‘we want to provide our services to you, but we need your help,’” Morgan said.
If the town or city does not sign the contract for 9 cents per person — amounts ranging from $152 in Spafford to $10,162 in Syracuse — the SPCA will cease their cruelty assistance in those municipalities.
“This is going to help make up what we are going to be losing, but there’s no guarantee,” Morgan said.
The contract, which will be delivered to the municipalities this week, has had positive feedback from the towns, Morgan added. Only the city of Syracuse has informed Morgan of their intent to not sign the contract.
“If the contract is not signed, I can tell you our services will stop,” Morgan said. “It’s not easy to say that. It stinks. You’re here for the animals so you hate to say that. But we need the funding.”
Morgan said the SPCA will provide one-time contracts for any investigations where police departments or municipalities ask for help.
With a one-time fee and a $25 per day, per animal storage fee, Morgan said the one-time contract could be more expensive than an entire year’s worth of contract.
Currently, the local police department or dog control office can, and does, provide animal cruelty investigations. The biggest issue for local departments is providing a kennel for the seized animals, who are often held as a form of ‘evidence,’ Morgan said.
Last year, the SPCA responded to 711 calls with 619 animals seized and 97 arrests. There was an animal cruelty investigation in each town in Onondaga County in 2010.
“I don’t think anyone can say our services are not needed,” Morgan said. “We can make arrests like the police department can, the only difference is we deal with animals.”