Options under consideration to keep Wichita animal services intact after proposed cut
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 -- The president and CEO of the Kansas Humane Society is among those working to pitch other ideas on how to save money so that the City of Wichita doesn’t have to cut a proposed $400,000 from the Wichita Animal Shelter’s budget.
The discussion continues following widespread concern that due to proposed cuts, the animal shelter would no longer be able to provide temporary care for the more than 10,000 animals per year it takes in.
Monday, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said he’s been in contact with Kansas Humane Society President Mark Eby and together, they’re working on a plan that would keep certain programs available to the public while still saving money.
However, as of Monday, Whipple said the entire program is on a chopping block. He said $11 million has to be cut from this year’s city budget, along with $16 million next year. The mayor said this is due to COVID-19 and a lack of help from the federal government. Still, he hopes to find a compromise.
Eby shared a few ideas that could make a difference to decrease crowding at the animal shelter.
“If your animal repeatedly gets out, assessing additional fines for that. Some of the illegal breeding that’s going on in town, really enforcing those things and making it hurt when people are illegally breeding animals,” he said.
Whipple said he’s confident there’s a solution that can be found in order to keep animal services available in Wichita. The Wichita City Council will further discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday (Aug. 4).
Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020
This Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will hear a proposal to cut $400,000 from the city’s animal control budget.
According to the Kansas Humane Society, that means the Wichita Animal Shelter, which takes in more than 10,000 animals a year, would quit sheltering them.
Mark Eby, President of the Kansas Humane Society, said that means they would be forced to take in the animals the city doesn’t shelter.
”Their expectation is that the Kansas Humane Society and anyone else with a building would be able to take those animals in,” said Eby. “Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the space or staff to be able to care for that many animals in our facility.”
Eby said the Kansas Humane Society is responsible for taking in surrendered pets, not strays. Taking in strays is up to the city’s shelter, and the Kansas Humane Society, doesn’t have the capacity to do both.
”To be asked to take that number of animals, and to take that on, there’s no room for that number of animals,” said Eby.
He also said the budget cut would make it harder for people to find lost pets, because their wouldn’t be a centralized location to take them. In addition, he said having more strays on the streets could cause a threat to public safety.
”If we have dogs that someone can’t bring in, and they let them go, the number of bites will increase,” said Eby. “The number of altercations with pets and people and with wild animals will go up.”
The Kansas Humane Society is asking the city to look into other alternatives, like increasing fines for those who lose their pets and increasing animal licensing.
”My ask to the city and mayor is to take their time,” said Eby. “Let’s get everyone involved and look at all the options.”
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