Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus will no longer have to worry about hauling stray animals in his patrol car, which lacks any sort of equipment for the task. Fluffy and friends never seemed to understand the need to stay put in the back.
“I’d have dogs and cats climbing in the front seat,” he said.
As of the first of the year, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service will take over animal control duties in Liberty Lake.
Police officers will still respond to calls about dog bites or aggressive dogs, but SCRAPS will handle all the calls about unlicensed pets, feral cats and barking dogs. “We’ve turned over our animal control/pet license database to them,” Asmus said. “SCRAPS is going to become the regular animal control service.”
SCRAPS director Nancy Hill said her organization should be able to absorb Liberty Lake animal control services with little difficulty. Her organization handled animal control for Liberty Lake the first year it incorporated. “They’re very small,” she said. “We’re hoping to absorb them without a real impact. We did them before and we’re just squeezing them back into the program.”
The move isn’t expected to save Liberty Lake any money, but it will free police officers to respond to other calls. In 2007 officers spent about 160 hours on animal control issues, Asmus said. The contract with SCRAPS is expected is cost about $12,000 a year after revenues from pet licenses are factored in.
The switch is being made because SpokAnimal is moving away from animal control and SCRAPS is set to become the shelter and animal control service used by the entire county.
The downside for Liberty Lake residents is an increase in pet licensing fees. The new fees will be due when each license comes up for renewal. The new prices will be $20 for an altered dog, $40 for an unaltered dog, $15 for an altered cat and $25 for an unaltered cat. A senior discount is available.