GOLD BEACH – The contract to turn the Curry County Animal Shelter over to a nonprofit group, delayed from the scheduled June 30 deadline by problems with the shelter building, will finally be signed today (Aug. 22) at the County Commission’s 10 a.m. meeting.
Animal Shelter Supervisor Catherine Powers said the contract was worked out by former Assistant County Counsel Jeni Meyer and the attorney for Pennies for Pooches, Eric Bryant.
“We presented a contract, they submitted some changes. They did some tweaks. Now we are going to sign the contract,” Powers said Tuesday.
Commission Chair David Itzen said there were actually three agreements to sign – a lease agreement, a services agreement and a transfer agreement.
“I think it’s fine,” Itzen said. “The transfer agreement is effective Sept. 1. The agreements are between Curry County and Pennies for Pooches.”
Under the new setup, Powers will remain with the nonprofit shelter. Enforcement of dog violations will remain with the Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m only one person,” Powers said. “Back in the day there were three animal control officers.”
Once the shelter is no longer with the county, it will rely totally on donations, license fees, adoptions and boarding fees to keep running.
“All license fees will go to the county treasurer and will come back to the nonprofit. We will continue to take all surrenders and strays,” Powers said.
Previously, a second nonprofit was to take over the animal shelter, but now it’s back to Pennies for Pooches, which raises money for the shelter.
“The two nonprofits merged,” Powers said.
The original transfer target date had to be moved following an inspection of the shelter.
“We were really close, but issues with the shelter – mold and dry rot – have come up,” Sheriff John Bishop said before the earlier date.
The building has since been repaired.
Powers said that in January she hopes to have the dog license fee, now at $25, reduced.
“Lincoln City has a $5 fee,” she said. “I want to get our low enough that people want to buy it. They will be supporting us.”
Powers said that would not come until January because state law allows fees to be changed only twice a year.
Commissioners approved a resolution in February to transfer the shelter to a nonprofit group.
“This is the first step to move animal control,” Waddle said then. “This resolution will go ahead and establish a process. It will be a departure from the annual budget. It will be a savings in the sheriff’s budget.”
With the end of federal timber payments, the county has been cutting departments where possible. Home Health & Hospice was spun off to a private nonprofit organization a year ago and county commissioners are hoping to do the same soon with Health and Human Services.
The resolution approved in February noted that Curry County, through the Sheriff’s Office, operates an animal shelter which serves as a dog impoundment facility in accordance with the requirements of state law to provide an “adequate and sanitary” facility to meet the law enforcement needs of the County.
It “accepts and cares for dogs surrendered by the public, provides adoption services, licensing of dogs in accordance with law, assistance in medical services in connection with local veterinarians, and promotes the humane treatment of animals,” the resolution says.
But because of a reduction in available funds, the county would like to investigate ways to effectively, efficiently and affordably provide animal shelter services beyond the end of the fiscal year.
Therefore, the commissioners resolved to “negotiate with a freestanding entity and other necessary parties regarding the transition of the Animal Shelter operation and related activities.”