Cheyenne, Laramie County to End Contract With Animal Shelter
Under the current contract, which expires June 30, the shelter gets paid $800,000 a year to serve as the city and county’s designated open-intake shelter.
But it says with rising inflation and employment expenses, providing these services costs in excess of $1.3 million.
"The Shelter has operated at a deficit with these contracts for more than 10 years," the agency said in a media release (see below).
"The recent opening contract proposal was for $1.25 million ... similar to opening asks in negotiations for the past several years," the shelter added.
The shelter says it appears the city and county intend to provide a lesser version of services themselves, but it's extremely unlikely they can provide equivalent services for less than the shelter does.
The shelter says it's hopeful officials will reconsider and agree to negotiations.
"There is no one better equipped to care for these animals, nor anyone more dedicated to their welfare than we are," said CEO Britney Tennant.
"We would like to continue providing these services through the contractual agreement and are surprised these elected officials have opted to take this action without any discussion with us and without seeking public input."
The shelter is asking for the community’s support in keeping the contract, fully funding it, and stopping the implementation of the government’s impound center.
"Contact your City Council members, the Mayor's office, and the office of the County Commissioners to make your voice and concerns heard," the shelter said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Cheyenne to Cancel Cheyenne Animal Shelter Contract
March 9, 2023 –This afternoon, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter received notice that the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County are canceling their long-standing contractual agreement with the Shelter. In doing so, they are setting the community back more than 30 years in terms of animal welfare.
Instead, it appears officials intend to provide a lesser version of services themselves.
Serving as the Community’s only open intake animal shelter requires so much more than simply warehousing an animal for 3-5 days. Comments from elected officials recently and over the last couple of years have lead to the reasonable inference that their vision for what can only be called an impound center is:
1). There will not be a vet on staff to provide routine or emergency medical care. Injured animals will apparently be held for the time required by law and then be euthanized.
2). There will be no place for stray animals rescued by the public to be safely housed
3). There will be no spay or neuter prior to adoption, despite existing City Code which states: “Dogs and cats adopted from the animal shelter must be sterilized.”
4). There will be no acceptance of owner-surrendered pets
5). There will be no proactive adoption programs. Instead, they apparently hope to transfer animals to outside agencies after the stray hold is up or be euthanized.
6). There will be no foster care or resources for impounded or stray baby animals who are too young to be safely adopted
7). There will be no behavioral care or enrichment.
8). More animals will be euthanized.
The agencies also do not appear to have considered the obligation to care for animals involved in animal hoarding and cruelty cases nor the needs of stray animals rescued by the public. Last year, the Shelter seamlessly managed a hoarding case with 64 giant breed dogs and their many litters of puppies, resulting in live outcomes for every animal. This was the largest hoarding case in the history of the Shelter, and one of 6 total hoarding cases managed during the course of the year. In the late summer and fall, the Shelter led a months-long effort to control a community-wide outbreak of feline panleukopenia. This disease is highly contagious, often fatal, and requires specialized care and facilities to manage.
Despite operating as an open intake shelter (all animals accepted), the Shelter’s live release rate in January and February was over 96% and it is one of the few shelters in the region that is managing to keep adoption rates up, despite a nationwide crisis of overcrowding. This crisis state has all but halted inter-agency transfers of animals across the country,which means the government's impound facility will struggle to transfer animals. Instead, most animals will face euthanization. Further, the Shelter’s medical, volunteer, and foster care programming provides the only life-saving resource to hundreds of stray kittens each year. Without those resources, those animals would die. Are the City and County prepared to handle such cases?
The current contracts pay the Shelter $800,000.00 per year to serve as the City and County’s designated open intake shelter. With rising inflation and employment expenses, providing these services costs in excess of $1.3 million. The Shelter has operated at a deficit with these contracts for more than 10 years. The recent opening contract proposal was for $1.25 million from the City and County combined. This is similar to opening asks in negotiations for the past several years. It is extremely unlikely that the City and County can provide equivalent services for less than the Shelter does.
The Cheyenne Animal Shelter remains committed to its mission and will continue to serve the community as it has for over 50 years.
Nevertheless, the Shelter prefers to find a resolution to this problem in the name of animal welfare and in service to a community of pet lovers. It is our hope that officials will reconsider and agree to negotiations. The Shelter is the single-greatest resource for pet animals in the State of Wyoming. Its staff have a combined experience and expertise in animal welfare in excess of 100 years. It is the only Shelter in the state with a full-time veterinarian and Tennant is the only Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) in the state. This certification is the highest industry credential available. The Board of Directors and senior leadership believe that in taking this action, elected officials are doing grievous harm to the community and irreparable damage to friends and neighbors.
“There is no one better equipped to care for these animals, nor anyone more dedicated to their welfare than we are. We would like to continue providing these services through the contractual agreement and are surprised these elected officials have opted to take this action without any discussion with us and without seeking public input,” says Britney Tennant, CEO.
The Shelter asks for the community’s support in keeping the contract, fully funding it, and stopping the implementation of the government’s impound center. The current contract expires June 30, 2023 and the Shelter will provide services as normal until then. In any event, the Shelter recognizes its inextricable ties to any agency involved in the care and housing of animals in this community and will continue to pursue efforts in the best interest of the animals moving forward.
Contact your City Council members, the Mayor's office, and the office of the County Commissioners to make your voice and concerns heard.
The city in a Facebook post late Thursday afternoon issued the following response:
Edgar Allan Poe once said, "Believe nothing you hear, and only half that you see."
In response to Cheyenne Animal Shelter’s post, the city has in no way ever communicated we would increase the euthanization rate or hope to run an impound center. We have tried working with the Animal Shelter tirelessly for the past two years as they have asked for more money from both the city and county. However, they have failed to produce the documents to show us where the money goes. We have countlessly asked for an itemized explanation of how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent, and each time they have refused.Although we are beyond grateful for the partnership we’ve had for the past 50 years, at this time, we have decided to separate and develop our own metro-animal shelter with a medical director on staff and other full-time employees. We have attempted several times to discuss the different thoughts on how city/county dollars should be spent, and the animal shelter has remained adamant about staying its course. Even going as far in telling us, “If you are not comfortable with the Cheyenne Animal Shelter’s approach, you should do it yourself.” Therefore, in taking their advice, we will.The city and county have already developed a plan to operate at a much lower cost than budgeted by CAS. We will provide more information about our new business venture, soon.
Please know, we love our furry friends and will do everything in the animals’ best interest to provide, protect, and care for their needs Also, please be aware that the city and county are STILL responsible for Animal Control, and our officers will continue to provide services, should you need them. We hope to work with CAS in the future by finding loving homes for all animals.