Moose Jaw’s stray animals may be in luck in the New Year
Moose Jaw Mayors seeks alternative animal rescue service
Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer
The City of Moose Jaw and the Moose Jaw Humane Society (MJHS) have agreed to negotiate new contract terms in the near future.
In the meantime, the MJHS has agreed to continue providing pound-keeping services within the city for 90 days beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
This comes well after the contract between the two parties expired in 2012. The Humane Society and the city have since been working on a month-by-month basis.
The MJHS informed the city that they would terminate their services after Dec. 31, 2013 unless a better deal could be struck.
Cue the small town drama. Words between Moose Jaw’s City Manager, Matt Noble, and MJHS’s Finance Chair, Dave Field, became public through the Moose Jaw Times Herald and the help of the MJHS Facebook page.
It was fueled by the operating numbers that the MJHS was provided to city – increasing the cost to nearly three times the amount to $386,053.
In an article from the Moose Jaw Times Herald back in September, president of the MJHS board John LaBuick said this amount was what would be required to offer pound-keeping services in the city without profit.
The city administration proposed a $200,000 deal after running its own numbers.
What caused the biggest uproar amongst Moose Javians was the information exposed that if the city chose to go with a private business instead, the five-day holding bylaw would be in effect. According to the bylaw, animals not rescued within the five-day holding period would be euthanized.
However, Mayor Deb Higgins reassured citizens of Moose Jaw that the city would look to other organizations to fulfill the role the MJHS provides.
“I know people are upset about the five-day bylaw, but that doesn’t mean the automatic next step will be to put the animal down,” said Higgins in a Times Herald article on Dec 18.
Noble also spoke to the Times Herald and said that seeking alternative rescue services would trump euthanasia.
Field disagreed with the city’s suggestion towards private businesses. “They’re just going to go out and capture the animal and take it to a holding area somewhere, and after five days, they’re going to take that animal and dispose of it,” he told the Times Herald.
A peaceful rally on Dec. 20 was held outside Moose Jaw City Hall to protest the termination of the contract. Dozens of citizens from the city gathered to support the MJHS and to request more transparency of the issue.
“It’s really important to us. We want clarity,” said Shawna Bonnett, one of the rally’s organizers, to the Times Herald.
Much has calmed down between the two parties as of the New Year. The MJHS has extended their services from a period of Jan. 1 to March 31 to give the animals the services they require and to allow a negotiating period to take place between the humane society and the city.
This extension came when the city’s executive committee voted unanimously in support of extending the MJHS’s pound-keeping contract to allow negotiations to continue.