Council met this week in General committee. One item of interest concerned animal control. There have been many questions over the years from residents concerned about the service that the OSPCA has provided to the Town and if the Town has been served well by the contract with OSPCA. The report before Council included a staff recommendation that we move the Town’s shelter service to the Georgina Shelter and for the Town to hire a new position of By-law Animal control so that we deal with matters of animal control in-house. The OSPCA (which deals with both shelter and animal control and enforcement) has been contracted by the Town for services since 2008. In 2015 the contract was extended by one year to allow staff to participate in a Northern 6 (N6) Animal Control Shared Services initiative and then a second, one year extension was approved in 2016 as the work of the Working Group continued. The Northern 4 have worked out an agreement with the Georgina Animal shelter that would begin January 1st 2018; however, this would still require the Town to find a way to provide the animal control and enforcement portion of animal services. As per the staff recommendation, by moving the shelter services to Georgina and by hiring a new position to provide animal control and enforcement in-house, this will allow the Town to provide:
- Increased accountability, control and performance
- Enhanced community outreach and engagement
- More flexibility to respond to community needs through cross training
- Opportunities for innovative approaches to create a dog-friendly community
- Greater compliance with animal control and pet licensing bylaws
While this will allow the Town to provide a more effective and efficient service level to our residents, this will also provide a cost savings as it would reduce our operating costs. The savings by switching from the OSPCA to the Georgina Animal Shelter and bringing the animal control and enforcement in-house is $60,000. As I always say – it is Councils job, with assistance and input of staff, to look at providing better service at the same price or better, and that is what staff has done with the proposed service model. They have done their homework, over a number of years, and have brought this new service model to Council for approval!! By approving this ahead of the budget, it will allow for a seamless transition from one service model to the other….
What does this mean for our wildlife? Who will take the injured animals to places like Shades of Hope like the OSPCA does now? or capture the fox that has scabies and ….again take it for care? And as far as feral cat colonies – who will subsidize the CNR programmes (Capture neuter release)?