Upper Keys Animal Shelter Update Buried in Waste Management Article

caged-278910_1920From today’s Citizen, buried in an article about waste management:

Without comment, [the BOCC] approved a five-year contract with the Humane Animal Care Coalition, Inc., to provide animal control services from Mile Marker 70 through Mile Marker 112, including Ocean Reef and Islamorada.

The annual contract remains at $287,539. The coalition, run by Marsha and Tom Garrettson, has held the county contract since 1997.

Here’s a link to the article:  “Waste Management wins contract changes“.  There is no mention of the high kill rate at the Upper Keys shelter.  There is no mention of the large differences in funding between the shelters.

The article says the animal shelter contract passed without comment.  That actually is not true.  I have contacted the BOCC about this issue and I submitted a comment when the Middle Keys shelter contract was up for renewal in April.  However, BOCC meeting rules do not allow written comments to be read aloud.  That’s one of the reasons I started this blog.  If you’re a taxpayer and/or a voter and you can’t make it to one of these 8-hour, mid-week  meetings, you have no voice.  Essentially, most working people are excluded unless they can take an entire day off from work.  Even if they are able to make it, there’s a possibility that the item will be moved to another meeting.  Intentionally or not, BOCC meetings are structured in a way that discourages public comment – especially from working people.

I know there are plenty of people in Key Largo who care about animals and cannot possibly be indifferent to the high kill rate at the Upper Keys shelter.  Anyhow, here’s my comment.  (I should clarify one thing – the article I’m referring to in the comment made no mention of the differences in funding levels.  I searched that out on my own.  I provided links to the documents in a previous post.)

Item C23 – Middle Keys Animal Shelter:
While I support the approval of this item, I do want to express my concern about the overall funding situation for all the animal shelters in the Keys.  According to a recent Free Press article, the Middle Keys shelter handled 285 animals last year.  Assuming this addendum is approved, they will receive  $247,563 per year from Monroe County.  The Key West shelter receives $515,000 per year and handled 800 animals.
The Free Press article noted that the Upper Keys shelter had the highest euthanasia rate of all the animal shelters in the Keys by far.  The Upper Keys shelter served 743 animals last year and received $270,321 from the county.  So they are handling almost as many animals as the Key West shelter with about half the money.
Why are the funding levels so different?  Doesn’t it make sense that the euthanasia rate at the Upper Keys shelter could be reduced if they were provided with similar resources as the other two shelters?  How and when will the county address this issue?
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