Spokane Valley City Council considers entering talks with Spokanimal

The Spokane Valley City Council during its Tuesday meeting seemed more open to exploring a relationship with SpokAnimal for animal control services. Members agreed to have staff explore the option and get cost information while at the same time moving forward on a proposal by Spokane County to build a new regional shelter.

Senior analyst Morgan Koudelka said he visited SpokAnimal recently. “They have indicated they have more than enough capacity to handle Spokane Valley,” he said. “They don’t plan any expansions in the near future.”

Mayor Tom Towey noted that all the shelter price options quoted by Spokane County assume that the city of Spokane will participate in the regional effort. “If Spokane says no then all of these options are out the window,” he said.

Councilman Arne Woodard questioned whether SpokAnimal employees would have the same legal authority as officers from the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. City Manager Mike Jackson said SCRAPS officers are trained by the state and can issue misdemeanor citations. “They do have some limited law enforcement capabilities,” he said.

Councilman Brenda Grassel said the city needs to look at its animal control contract the same way it does its other contracts. “I am just always looking for ways to reduce costs,” she said.

The city is not ready to make a decision on regional animal control, Towey said. “I think we have to wait until Spokane makes a decision,” he said. “If Spokane does not go with SCRAPS, that changes everything.”

The city should get a cost comparison from SpokAnimal, said Councilman Chuck Hafner. “That would at least give us a general idea,” he said. “We have to start somewhere.”

Hafner said he has concerns about whether SpokAnimal will still be around and offering animal control services in the long run. “Which one is going to last 20 years?” he said. “I think with the county, we’re pretty secure there.”

The city also needs to look at the level of service SpokAnimal could offer, Koudelka said. “There are more components than cost,” he said.

“We’ve seen there are people who are very passionate about the care of animals,” Koudelka said. “If we continue down this path the council might want to consider a public hearing.”

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