The animal control partnership between Davenport and the Scott County Humane Society will be extended for another month after another animal shelter that planned to take over sounded an alarm about a lack of space at its facility.
Davenport Finance Director Brandon Wright said Wednesday the contract renewal gives the city more time to evaluate its options. A major concern for area animal care providers, Wright said, is the upcoming Independence Day celebration, when fireworks may scare some animals and lead to a heightened number of strays roaming the city streets.
The contract, under which the Humane Society receives nearly $223,000 annually, is being extended under the current terms, Wright said. The city may still change the way animal control is handled, he said, but the partnership with the Humane Society could be extended again.
For decades, Davenport has outsourced animal control enforcement to the Humane Society in exchange for monthly payments. The group responds to nuisance complaints, captures strays and oversees other components of the city’s animal control policies.
But the relationship has become strained in recent months. The Humane Society wanted the city to increase its payments to more than $700,000 annually, city officials have said, prompting a search for an alternative.
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Time has been a factor in the contract extension with the Humane Society. The organization sent the city a three-month cancellation notice to take effect July 1. Meanwhile, city officials and the organization continued to negotiate, but were unable to find common ground.
Last week, city officials discussed a proposal that included making animal control officers municipal employees. Housing and care under that model would be provided by another animal shelter.
King’s Harvest Pet Rescue No Kill Shelter was identified as a possible option. But the organization’s executive director, Terri Gleize, recently called an emergency meeting where she repeatedly said she does not want the responsibility and is worried about the quick transition.
“We don’t have a plan. That’s why we’re doing this,” Gleize said during a recent interview. “We can’t have animals running all over the city. That just can’t happen.”