Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What taxpayers need to know about Prairie Paws

7/7/2014

After waiting patiently for a response from Prairie Paws Animal Shelter to the article in the June 17 Herald, “Officials: More spent to house shelter animals than inmates,” I can wait no longer.

Answers to the following questions might shed some light on what taxpayers need to know:

After waiting patiently for a response from Prairie Paws Animal Shelter to the article in the June 17 Herald, “Officials: More spent to house shelter animals than inmates,” I can wait no longer.

Answers to the following questions might shed some light on what taxpayers need to know:

1) Who owns Prairie Paws Animals Shelter? Were taxpayer dollars used to build the shelter facility on K-68?

2) What was the actual contribution for operations from Franklin County for 2013 and 2014?

3) What was the amount of the increase, requested of the county for 2015?

4) How many animals were brought to the shelter from Franklin County in 2013?

5) Who is the “animal control” for the county?

6) Answers for questions 2-5 need to be obtained from the City of Ottawa for comparison.

7) How many other communities in Franklin County have their own animal control abilities, or do they rely on the county for animal control?

8) What does the stated cost of $53 per day to keep animals at Prairie Paws Animal Shelter include?

9) Where did the cost of $40 per day to house an inmate at the jail come from and what does it include?

10) What is the projected annual budget for the operations of the animal shelter for 2015, including all salaries?

11) What is the projected 2015 budget for the department assigned the animal control duties for Franklin County, including all salaries?

12) What is the maximum operating capacity of Prairie Paws Animal Shelter?

13) What is the maximum operating capacity of the Franklin County jail?

14) What is the maximum operating capacity of the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center?

15) Are all of the facilities mentioned in questions 12-14 at full-operating capacity?

There are many more questions that could be asked, but most of the above should be “public record” and available. In fact, as taxpayers, answers should be expected. The answers, I think, might be of interest to all of us.

I don’t think that any increased funding should be approved in light of the financial situation at the state level for any services short of what is absolutely necessary. I hope that attitude is inclusive of all budgets reviewed by the decision makers at the county level.

This response was not written to promote additional tax funding for Prairie Paws Animal Shelter. It was written to accomplish what I hope will be facts to address published comments made by county officials in the June 17 Herald article. My primary purpose is to “head off” the potential damage done by those unfair and uninformed comments.

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter should not rely on funds from the county to operate the facility beyond the county’s use. After that, they should rely on the surrounding counties’ and cities’ paid use and their own fundraising. The potential damage from the published statements can and will have a negative effect on that very necessary fundraising by Prairie Paws Animal Shelter. I hope answers to the aforementioned questions will help in that clarification.

We might find out we need to keep all of the stray and unwanted animals at the jail because it is operationally less money to do so. They would have color television. They would have hot meals. They would have free medical, dental and mental health care. They would have larger holding cells with clean bedding. They would have clean uniforms. Why, they wouldn’t even have to be neutered before being released. Think of the upgrade.

J.E. “Jim” Trendel,

Ottawa

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