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Examiner
  • County remains optimistic on animal shelter

  • Jackson County legislators on Monday expressed confidence that they could soon work out issues with the city of Independence over the new Regional Animal Shelter.

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  • Jackson County legislators on Monday expressed confidence that they could soon work out issues with the city of Independence over the new Regional Animal Shelter.
    “We continue to have a very constructive dialogue,” Legsislator Dennis Waits, D-Independence, said after legislators, County Executive Mike Sanders and legal staff met in closed session Monday. They took no action on the issue afterward.
    The $5.5 million animal shelter on Missouri 78 is meant to replace the current city animal shelter on Vista Drive. An agreement in 2009 was that the county would build the new shelter and the city would run it. The city says that agreement is still in effect and that it’s met its obligations.
    But Waits has expressed concerns that the city is not committing enough resources to run the shelter as well as it should be run. He wants to be sure it’s a “no-kill” shelter from day it opens, meaning 10 percent or fewer of the incoming animals are put down. The city points out that the 2009 agreement mentions working toward that goal, but Waits counters that the intent has been no-kill all along.
    The Legislature earlier this month put the shelter operations out for bid, potentially bypassing the city, although county officials said it was just for information-gathering purposes, seeing if there’s a way to save money and still meet all the goals.
    Only one group responded to that request, the Great Plains chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That’s the same group that had put in for the work when the city looked for an operator early this year. The city said Great Plains’ cost was too high and decided to run the shelter itself.
    Waits suggested the door was still open for Great Plains.
    “I think that’s always been a point of (the conversation) that a non-profit could be part of the discussion,” he said.
    Waits and Legislator Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City and chairman of the Legislature, expressed confidence that the city and county can work out something in a few weeks.
    “We’re working well. It seems like we’re coming to a resolution,” Tarwater said.
     
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