Amsterdam to consider options in animal shelter service
AMSTERDAM City officials have until the end of the month to contract with an animal shelter and are considering two options.
The city’s contract with the Montgomery County SPCA is up at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Officials typically renew the contract without any problems. The amount is too low to require competitive bidding. However, this year officials asked the Brennan Humane Society in Gloversville to submit a bid.
Deputy Chief Victor Hugo said he doesn’t know of any problem the city has with the SPCA. He said there have been complaints from residents that the MCSPCA isn’t open to the public seven days a week, so if a dog is picked up they can’t retrieve it right away.
Police and animal control officers have access to the shelter every day.
“This was just another opportunity to see if the city could get a better price for what they are doing,” Hugo said.
Alderman William Wills, D-4th Ward, said he created a contract for humane services based on what the city needs. The contract included various changes including the hours the shelter had to be open to the public and eliminating the city’s financial responsibility for euthanasia.
Both shelters indicated that they were not interested in operating under the proposed contract. Both Brennan and the MCSPCA submitted different contract agreements, which were set to be discussed Tuesday.
However, at the request of MCSPCA Board President Jan Zumbolo, the discussion was put off until she returns from vacation Saturday. The Common Council’s next regular meeting is July 6.
The Brennan Humane Society does get dogs from the city of Amsterdam from owners when there isn’t enough space at the SPCA, according to shelter manager Denise Feldle.
Feldle said the shelter submitted the same contract used for all municipalities. Brennan Humane Society has a contract for services with the city of Johnstown and nine other municipalities in Fulton and Hamilton counties.
The Brennan Humane Society is a larger facility equipped to handle about 25 dogs, a dozen puppies and about 50 cats in three buildings; the MCSPCA can handle about 15 dogs and 25 cats.
Neither facility is open seven days a week. Brennan is closed on Tuesdays and the MCSPCA is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
SPCA shelter manager Debi Crandall said she tries to stay out of “the political insanity,” but said she is waiting “on pins and needles” for a decision from city officials.
Currently the Montgomery County SPCA doesn’t accept cats from the city because there is never enough room. Crandall said there was talk of coordinating with Brennan to take cats picked up in the city.
The SPCA was paid $16,000 last year for their services, but the city incurred extra fees from euthanasia and vet bills.
“If they were smart they’d stay with us,” Crandall said. “I don’t think people would be happy to travel up there to find their animal.”
Feldle too, said she would think the city of Amsterdam should chose to contract with a shelter in the community.
“It’s always good to have competition,” Wills said.