MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich.--The Ways and Means Committee of Muskegon County will recommend that Pound Buddies get a three-year contract to handle the county's animal control needs.
The vote on Thursday afternoon settled months of worries that failure to renew a contract with Pound Buddies would result in its closure.
Since 2010, Pound Buddies has provided animal control services for the county. In 2010, it was the only shelter to bid on the contract, according to Muskegon County Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis.
The law requires that the county put contracts up for bid, as it did when Pound Buddies' contract was up for renewal. This move upset many supporters of Pound Buddies.
“Getting somebody else in there that can do such an amazing job, as we have been doing, would be very difficult," says Lynn Jazdzyk, a chairperson and volunteer for Pound Buddies.
County commissioners say they have been flooded with calls and emails urging them to vote to renew the county's contract with Pound Buddies, even if it wasn't the lowest bid. There was one other bid but Pound Buddies ended up being the lower bid at $235,000, according to Moulatsiotis.
“From 2010 until now, the community has been able to see the tremendous difference that we’ve made," says Jazdzyk. "That’s why we have so much support.”
Some have expressed concerns that contracting with another shelter would lead to more dogs being euthanized.
Moulatsiotis says that was never the county's intention.
“The board of commissioners at no time said anything about euthanization of the animals. I never said that," he says.
Things were made more complicated when considering Pound Buddies also operates as a non-profit, performing services beyond what the county requires. For example, Pound Buddies takes in all kinds of animals, when the county only requires the control of dogs for four to seven days, according to Moulatsiotis.
“My disagreement originally was, at what point do we stop and we say no?" Moulatsiotis says.
The contract with Muskegon County provides less than 50 percent of the Pound Buddies budget. The rest is raised through grants and donations, according to Jazdzyk.
Pound Buddies asked for a 10-year contract with the county so it would be easier to get large donations to do things like repair the building.
In the end, the Ways and Means Committee voted to make a recommendation to the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners that Pound Buddies get a three-year contract.
“The bottom line is Pound Buddies does a good job," Moulatsiotis says. "We never question that. There’s issues from time to time but there’s issues in anything else that we do in life.”
The final approval of the contract with Pound Buddies is expected to take place on December 11.