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County adds $7,700 to spay/neuter pact funds

Link of dog warden, humane society to end

Lucas County commissioners Tuesday approved an amendment to the contract between the Lucas County Dog Warden and the Toledo Area Humane Society to pay an additional $7,700 for spaying and neutering of adopted animals.

The funds will come from the dog warden's dog and kennel fund. The office does not receive money from the county general fund but is financed primarily through the purchase of dog licenses.

It's the last time Dog Warden Julie Lyle will have to make such a request because she is about two to three weeks away from having an on-site spay/neuter surgical suite up and running. The facility is awaiting arrival of one key piece of equipment before it can begin handling the procedures in-house.

The new suite will result in less stress on the dogs, which currently are transported to the humane society for surgeries and moved back to the dog warden's kennels the same day, Ms. Lyle said.

Commissioner Pete Gerken was the solo no vote on the amendment, with Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Carol Contrada voting yes. Ms. Contrada said she thought it was positive that more funds were needed for the surgeries.

"The fact that we have more dogs that need [to be spayed and neutered] means we are successfully placing more dogs," she said.

Originally, $27,500 was budgeted for the operations for this year.

Mr. Gerken said after the meeting that he voted no because he doesn't believe the humane society has been upholding its part of the contract that requires them to take "surplus" adoptable dogs from the dog warden.

"I think they are cherry-picking us," Mr. Gerken said.

According to Ms. Lyle, the humane society took 399 dogs in January through September, compared with 454 during the same time period in 2010. She said the number transferred varies from week to week. "Some weeks it is one, some weeks it is 18," she said.

John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, said his group has taken fewer dogs because the dog warden's office is doing more adoptions. The spaying/neutering portion of the contract is separate from the agreement that deals with the taking of surplus dogs, he added.

Ms. Lyle said 443 dogs were adopted in January through September of 2011 compared with 334 in the same period of 2010. Her office is on track to take in more dogs this year than in 2010.

In January through September of 2011, the office did 2,906 intakes (an average of about 323 dogs a month) compared with 3,300 for all of 2010 (an average of 275 dogs a month).

The adoption fee is $50 and includes spay/neuter, initial vaccines, initial worming, behavior evaluation, and a registered microchip. All adopters must also purchase a license, at the cost of $25. All dogs that haven't been spayed or neutered receive the procedure before going to their new homes.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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