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WJBD - Local News - Salem City Council To Study Building For Possible Location of Animal Pound

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen tells city council current level of animal control is unacceptable.

Salem City Council To Study Building For Possible Location of Animal Pound

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Salem City Council has nixed the idea of contracting with the City of Centralia to house the city's stray and vicious dogs.  

The big issue was the cost and having nothing to show for it at the end of the five year contract period.  The contract would also not cover cats.  As a first step to creating their own pound, the council approved spending up to $5,000 to study the cost of renovating and reopening the old animal shelter in a city owned building behind Goff Plumbing off South College.  

City Manager Bill Gruen told the council Centralia had agreed to take Salem's dogs at a cost of $57,000 a year.  The city would still have the additional cost of a dog catcher to take the dogs to Centralia.  He admitted the cost was high, but felt it was the best alternative available.  Gruen said something needed to be done.  "The current level of animal control we have is just unacceptable.  We don't have any reliable place to take dogs, let alone dangerous dogs when it is really necessary," said Gruen.  

Mayor John Raymer expressed frustration at the Marion County Board for not handling animal control like many other counties.  He feels one unified service would save everyone money over having separate arrangements with the City of Centralia to use their pound.  "You are asking the citizens of Marion County to pay $175,000 a year for animal control because the county has not decided to make an effort at that.   I would like to call on the county to study that problem and establish that program so we don't keep wasting our money," said a frustrated Raymer.

Raymer cited Clinton County as an example, where the overall cost of the program was lower and a large part of the cost was being covered by the sale of dog tags.  He would like an invitation to a county board meeting to once again discuss the issue and show why he thinks everyone would benefit financially with a county-wide program.   

Councilman Dave Black suggested the city move forward on creating its own shelter and completing the study on the former animal shelter.  "I just hate to spend $80,000 to $84,000 a year and not see anything.  Where as, if we did it that way, we could have a facility that could work very well.  If the county so chose to do something, maybe we could release it to them.  

Once the study of the building is complete it will be brought back before the city council for further discussion and possible action. 

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