By Karen Daniels
Last year the City of Stafford and Missouri City entered into an agreement to build a new animal shelter. Stafford would assist with one/fourth of the costs for the facility that would be built in Missouri City. Originally, the bid was $400,000 to which Stafford wrote a check for $100,000. A glitch in the plan was announced at the May 2 City Council meeting when the Board was informed that Missouri City’s estimation was off by 60%. An additional $67,000 was now being requested from Stafford to cover their portion of the increase. Charles Russell, Stafford’s city engineer, stated that although he “didn’t know who provided the original estimate to Missouri City, materials and fuel have increased since then.”
For the money, ($167,000 plus $1,600 for monthly rent), Stafford will receive the use of five kennels, however, Missouri City has the right to reclaim these spaces if their needs expand. If that were to happen, a refund would be amortized and given back to Stafford. On average, the City of Stafford picks up 16 to 17 strays per month; five or six per week. Half are usually adopted and the other half euthanized. Mayor Scarcella said that Missouri City’s potential for growth and need of the additional spaces would eventually happen and this was only a temporary fix. He would like the City of Stafford to look into possible alternatives for the future, mentioning that setting up their own shelter might one day be necessary.
The decision to appropriate action was set aside for one week for Stafford to speak with the City of Sugar Land as it was brought to their attention space might be available at their shelter. The City of Sugar Land does not euthanize their animals, if possible, and if Stafford were to rent space from them they would have to change their policy to reflect Sugar Land’s.
The City of Sugar Land’s Animal Shelter keeps their costs low by utilizing volunteers and recovering fees through adoptions. Mike Leech explained, “The City of Sugar Land Animal Services division relies heavily upon dozens of volunteers who in 2011 donated more than 3,000 hours of service. In 2011 more than 350 animals found new homes through the adoption program. Thus far in 2012 the adopted total is trending toward more than 400 animals.”
In the end, the City of Stafford unanimously approved the additional funds to Missouri City. Councilmember Robert Sorbet, asked that the Council keep in mind ways in the future ways, such as prevention, as a possible way to address the stray issues.