Tonawanda News

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December 8, 2013

Niagara Falls City Council to consider hike to SPCA contract

Tonawanda News — The SPCA of Niagara and the city of Niagara Falls are set to renew their contract for next year, though it will cost the city more money than in years past.

Mayor Paul Dyster has included a resolution on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting that would allow him to sign a one year contract with the nonprofit that would pay $18,000 more than last year’s contract, bringing the total to $198,000 for the services it provides to the city.

City officials have been meeting with representatives from the SPCA for more than a year to discuss changes in the relationship between the shelter and the city, some of which are outlined in a letter addressed to City Administrator Donna Owens from Amy Lewis, the shelter’s executive director.

Lewis argues that the shelter deserves more money from the city because it spends about $107,000 more caring for animals that come from the city than the city gives to the shelter each year, a cost that is driven largely by the number of calls on stray dogs originating in the city.

The SPCA billed the city $83,520 for services in 2012. In July, the city council approved a six-month contract that raised the city’s monthly payments from $6,960 to $15,000.

In addition, Lewis said the SPCA plans to phase out providing dog control for the city over the next few years in an effort to control costs at the financially struggling shelter and returning it to its core mission of preventing cruelty, offering a place for owners to take animals they can no longer care for and offering educational programming on pet ownership, according to the letter.

“Getting back to our core mission means phasing dog control out of our operations and sustaining the mission of the shelter through sources of funding not related to municipal dog control contracts,” Lewis said.

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