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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council discusses dog pound options

by Sylene Argent

At a special meeting hosted at the Essex Civic and Education Centre on Monday evening, Essex Council discussed dog pound options.

Staff will compile dog pound options for Council to consider as there is time to explore all opportunities before a notice of leave would need to be submitted to the Lakeshore Dog Pound, if Council chooses to do so in the future.

Council received the report, “Animal Control and Pound Services,” which provided background information on the Lakeshore Dog Pound for Monday’s meeting. The report notes the agreement between the College and the municipal partners in the Lakeshore Dog Pound requires a municipality to provide 18 months’ notice in writing prior to the expiration of the Term of the Agreement or any renewal thereof if it wishes to terminate the Agreement with the College.

This Agreement was automatically renewed on September 1, 2017, so the Town would not be in a position to provide notice of its intent to terminate its participation until 18 months prior to March 1, 2020, the expiration of the new Term of the Agreement, if it chooses to do so. The current contract will expire in August of 2021.

Currently there are four participating municipalities in the Lakeshore Dog Pound, the Towns of Essex, Lakeshore, LaSalle, and Tecumseh.

The Town is a partner in the operation of the Lakeshore Dog Pound for the provision of pound services for all dogs found running at large, which entails three Agreements: a Dog Pound Operating Agreement (this focuses on costs due to ‘dog days,’ the time a canine from a municipality spends at the pound), a Lease Agreement, and an Agreement with St. Clair College, which provides for the supply of animals to the College’s Veterinary Technician Program and for the provision of services by the College to the Lakeshore Dog Pound, including veterinary advice and euthanasia services.

The Town of Lakeshore had requested Essex submit comments as it relates to short-term and long-term visions for the Lakeshore Dog Pound. A potential name change is also in the air. Council received this request at the April 3 regular meeting.

In 2012, Essex sent a letter to the Lakeshore Dog Pound, outlining a list of concerns. In 2013, a report to Essex Council came forward that noted some of those concerns had been taken care of, Donna Hunter, CAO for the Town of Essex, said during the meeting.

A few Councillors discussed submitting a notice of leave to the dog pound, recognizing the Town has to provide 18 months notice before the contract renewal, just to be prepared if this is the course that would be chosen. Other Councillors believed, as there is plenty of time before that 18 months’ notice had to be given, to leave it status quo for the time being, and explore other options in the mean time. That way, all options could be considered and weighed before the contact would need to be renewed.

Councillor Randy Voakes believes there could be better options than the Lakeshore Dog Pound to care for the animals that had obtained after running at large. He wondered if the Town could pay the Humane Society to do inspections at the Lakeshore Dog Pound. He wondered if Essex should start its own dog pound. Perhaps that could be joined with another party to help with costs.

Councillor Sherry Bondy said this file has been on her radar. The next term of council, she said, needs to determine level of service it wants in a dog pound and look at associated costs. She said the dogs are not in dire straits. The Humane Society does go there often.

The biggest thing is to not have the dogs go there. “Dog tags give dogs a ticket home,” Bondy said.   

Hunter said the Town could issue an Expression of Interest to see what other dog pound type options could be offered to the Municipality, which would allow Council to make an informed decision on the matter in the future.

In 2017, Essex provided $25,975.88 to the Animal Control Officers, $19,973.67 to the Lakeshore Dog Pound, and 3,580.00 to the Windsor Essex County Humane Society for their services, for a total of $49,529.55.

The Town, the report notes, utilizes Essex County K9 Services as its Animal Control Officer. The contract came about through a tendering period. The Animal Control Officer was on contract, but is currently working month-to-month, waiting to see how the Town proceeds with the dog pound option. Responsibilities include responding to calls concerning dogs running at large, including delivery of such dogs to the Lakeshore Dog Pound, amongst other duties.

Council moved to garner an Animal Control Officer with a three-year agreement. It will be renewed every year. This will be tendered out.

There is also an agreement with Windsor/Essex County Humane Society, which provides for the intake of stray and feral cats for residents of the Town.

During the regular Council meeting held later that night, Essex Council also received the report, “Stray Cat Intake Agreement with Windsor-Essex County Humane Society,” and entered into an agreement with the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society for the intake of stray cats. It also approved a bylaw, Number 1693, which will have the Town pay the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society $25.00 per stray cat coming from Essex with proof. This will be for a three-year period, retroactive to January 1, 2018.


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