Rock Co. Humane Society contracts up in the air - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Rock Co. Humane Society contracts up in the air

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ROCK COUNTY (WKOW) -- Shelter animals in Janesville and Beloit could end up in Madison, if the cities don't sign new contracts with Rock County Humane Society (RCHS).

Right now, the two cities are under contracts that expire at the end of the year. Humane society employees go out and pick up strays and house them at the shelter.

Under a new plan, both Janesville and Beloit would hire several part time positions to serve as "community service officers", who would go out and pick up strays and take them to the shelter themselves to save money. The proposal also would create a partnership with Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) to house animals seized from homes, which RCHS will not take in the shelter.

"They're telling us they can't handle the volume and we needed to find a vendor that could," Davis says. "When we met with Dane County they felt that they could handle it."

Currently, Janesville Police Deputy Chief Danny Davis says the city pays more than $200-thousand a year for animal control. If the city council were to approve the proposal to work with DCHS, Davis estimates a savings of at least $40-thousand, despite paying for transportation costs and funding new positions. Davis hopes to open a holding facility in town where animals will await transport to Madison.

Janesville is also considering a dual-contract for strays, that could send some to RCHS and some to DCHS.

RCHS director Angela Rhodes says that plan could complicate the process of finding a lost pet.

Rhodes says despite what municipal officials say is a high cost, the contracts aren't helping RCHS out enough. They make up only 20 percent of the shelter's $800-thousand budget.

"We've been functioning under contracts with municipalities for some time," Rhodes says. "Those contracts have never been equitable as far as getting paid for the services we actually provide."

Many people involved in these discussions say a county-wide solution would be best like the county control department in Dane County.

City officials at Janesville and Beloit both say they're looking for the most economical solution while maintaining quality care for the animals in need. Officials hope to have contracts finalized next month.

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