All Can Help in Cost of Animal Control

Article excerpt

Oahu residents simply must accept the news that Hawaiian Humane Society animal-control services will be curtailed, unwelcome as that is, and find ways to give a voluntary assist to the city's animal-control duties. This seems to be an outcome that was impossible to avoid at least in the short term, given the city's budgetary shortfall.

And it's likely only the first sign of fiscal distress taxpayers will see over the coming weeks.

The bottom line here is that while officials figure out how to shift some animal control duties to police and other city employees, the public will have to do a much better job at the front end, using more responsible pet ownership practices.

The nonprofit Humane Society last week announced that, without an additional $800,000 in its city contract, it would be unable to shoulder all the chores it's done in the past. Officials of the organization have agreed to a $2.1 million payment for an 11-month service term. However, they have said it will be unable to pick up strays, deal with complaints on cats and barking dogs, or provide law-enforcement information, except in cases of animal cruelty.

The statistics on animal-control duties under the city contract are pretty startling. Jacque Leblanc, community relations director, said the funding is to pay the society for handling 21,000 stray animals, 22,000 microchipping procedures, 3,500 reports of loose dogs and 5,000 lost-and-found reports, among many other tasks.

The contract payment simply doesn't cover all the work, Leblanc said, so the society has been shifting donated resources meant for its "front end" advocacy work -- educational outreach and other jobs -- to offset the shortfall.

That, she correctly noted, is going to cause more problems than it solves, simply because an uninformed public will control its pets poorly and add to the workload down the line. …