It sits nearly two miles outside of Spokane Valley city limits, and it wasn’t all that long ago that SpokAnimal leadership was looking to get out of the dog-catching game.
Yet, last week, the Spokane Valley City Council woofed once for yes at the idea of digging a bit deeper for more information on whether or not the city of Spokane’s current animal-control provider could do the same for its neighbor to the east.
“Let’s find out what Spokane’s paying (SpokAnimal),” said Council Member Chuck Hafner when the subject was discussed at the May 8 meeting. “Let’s get some background information.”
After having some days to think on it, however, Mayor Tom Towey said Spokane Valley would essentially be chasing its own tail without first knowing if the Spokane City Council is serious in pursuing a contract with Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. SCRAPS is Spokane Valley’s current animal-control provider and has been since incorporation in 2003.
He also said he hopes to get more information, too, from Spokane County on what it plans to do about a new shelter to replace the aging facility near Spokane Industrial Park.
“There is a lot to consider,” Towey said Monday about the possibility of entering into a regional partnership with the county and possibly the city of Spokane. “What, exactly, would we be saying yes to?”
Further complicating the issue is the emergence of SpokAnimal as a potential contractor for animal control. While the agency is in the city of Spokane, its director has told Spokane Valley city officials it has more than enough space to handle the additional animals generated here.
“They’ve indicated that they have more than enough capacity for Spokane Valley,” said Morgan Koudelka, senior analyst for the city. “They said they definitely would be interested.”
What isn’t known is how much such a contract would be. And while the contract with SCRAPS has gone down each year, partnering with the county on a new facility could cost $4.5 million – provided if the city of Spokane joins in.
If that doesn’t happen, all the known numbers go out the window, Koudelka said.
“We have to start over,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a bad direction to take.”
Council Member Brenda Grassel said she is “always looking to reduce our costs.”
“We really don’t have a choice other than to look at this as we do any other contract,” she said.
The city is looking for a long-term provider, though, and Hafner said he is concerned SpokAnimal could make a long-term commitment.
“Which one is going to last 20 years?” he asked.
Koudelka also advised that people are concerned about their animals and their care and that the council may want to consider a public hearing in the near future.
“We have seen there are people who are very passionate about animals,” he said.
Staff members will make a follow up report to the City Council at a future meeting.