City reviewing contract

The city is reviewing its animal shelter contract with the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society while it considers alternatives such as the Jefferson County Humane Society.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie briefly discussed the contract issue at the council's Dec. 14 meeting but no action was taken.

The city has contracted with the Humane Society for animal sheltering since 2005.

The annual fees have ranged from $3,700 to $12,000 and are $7,300 so far this year. The 2010 budget estimates $8,400 for animal sheltering, or $32.50 per day up to $97.50 per animal.

In a later interview, Ritchie said a meeting between

Sequim and the Humane Society was being scheduled to discuss the issue but really the county and the other cities need to talk to the Humane Society as well.

"Other counties are closing their animal shelters. Everyone does want to solve this," he said.

The Humane Society probably wants a fee increase but the city wants a way to establish that animals charged to the city came from inside the city, Ritchie said.

Humane Society executive director Scott Chandler said contract negotiations are being conducted through the board of directors.

"There's some clauses in the contract and the board is not sure if it wants to accept those clauses," he said.

"We hope to continue providing sheltering services to benefit the animals and not have it cost us an arm and a leg. We lose money on the animals, which is difficult from a business standpoint."

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said he considers the Humane Society contract to be settled.

The 2009 contract was $103,000 and after a mandated 4.7-percent budget cut, the 2010 contract is about $98,000, he said.

"That's what I've offered. If they have a problem, they can take it up with the commissioners.

"The budget amount is determined during the budget process, They want $180,000 and I can't do it. I sympathize with their issues but I can't double their budget when all my programs are being cut. I don't see my budget increasing that much by next year," Benedict said.

The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society animal shelter is at 2105 W. Highway 101 in Port Angeles. It is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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