By DONNA RYDER
After years of contracting out services for the care of animals picked up in the city limits of Union City, city officials have brought the service in-house.
City manager Kathy Dillon said it is something new for Union City and they are in the beginning stages.
Prior to this month and over the past several years, the city had worked with two different animal rescue organizations to house animals picked up in the city, paying a monthly fee. Before that, the city bid out contract services for the city pound.
The last organization, Animal Adoption Center of Union City, gave the city notice last year that it would be ending its contract with the city. That contract ended at the beginning of this month.
Ms. Dillon said Union City has hired Elizabeth Myatt as its full-time animal control officer and she will soon be hiring an additional part-time person. She will be driving a marked city vehicle and will be carrying identification, the city manager said. The animal control officer will serve under the police department.
The basic function of the Department of Animal Control will be to protect the community from vicious animals and from animals which are at-large, Ms. Dillon said, adding the city will be following the ordinance as set forth by the city council.
Ms. Myatt’s responsibilities will include picking up animals which are at-large in the city. The owners of the animals will have seven days to claim their pets. On the eighth day, the animals will be put up for adoption. If they are not adopted, on the ninth day, the animals will be euthanized.
Ms. Dillon said Ms. Myatt will use all means possible to make the public aware of animals which have been picked up. She plans to list the animals on the city’s website, Facebook, Petfinders and in The Messenger. When not on a call, she will have the facility, located at 1415 North Fifth St., open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., with plans to have Saturday hours in the future.
The city pound will not accept surrendered animals, but Ms. Myatt has a great network with other shelters and will have a list available for those needing to find homes for animals, Ms. Dillon said.
The city manager said Union City has a leash law and owners who allow their pets to roam without supervision can receive citations. Residents will be charged $10 for first offense, $25 for second offenses and $50 for each offense thereafter. There are also boarding fees for animals which are claimed by their owners. Those fees depend on the weight of the dog.
Residents wishing to adopt animals will have to pay $40 for each dog and $30 per cat. Ms. Dillon said the city has tried to make it very affordable, covering its expenses.
She urged residents to bear in mind that ultimately the city is not a humane society or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and is instead in the animal control business to protect its citizens.
Ms. Myatt may be reached at 885-7011. Residents calling about animals at-large may also call the police department at 885-1515.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 3.30.12