The City of Oak Harbor may start a new contract with the WAIF Animal Shelter after the lease on its current dog sheltering facility expires next year.
Chief of Police Kevin Dresker presented his animal control recommendations at the city council workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 22.
Dresker created the report since the city’s current lease expires in May 2019 and the city’s longtime animal control officer, Terry Sampson, announced he will soon retire.
From 1972 to 2013, the Navy allowed the city to use a facility on the Seaplane Base to shelter lost animals.
In May 2013, however, the Navy told the city that the facility could no longer be used to shelter dogs, so the city leased a building and contracted with WAIF to staff the new facility.
The new building served only as a holding facility.
The city also entered into a yearly contract with the Navy to continue to provide Animal Control services on Navy housing based on a monetary amount and the amount of service needed.
Since the Navy told the city that the Seaplane Base facility would no longer be available in 2013, the cost of sheltering animals was between $135,000 and just over $140,000 for staffing and leasing the facility, according to Dresker’s report.
Last year the city paid $141,436 for leasing, utilities, and for WAIF to staff the current building.
The two options that Dresker presented were to purchase the current building and maintain the current WAIF contract or to enter into a smaller contract with WAIF so the nonprofit would shelter all dogs at its facility south of Coupeville, and the city would only have a temporary sheltering option for as-needed situations.
The first option of buying the current leased facility would cost an estimated $431,000 according to Dresker’s report.
The police chief’s estimate includes building purchase costs of $267,000 plus closing costs, maintenance and repair/upgrade costs of $60,000 and the current WAIF contract costs of $104,000.
Dresker recommended the council go with the second option, which he said would be for the city to enter a new contract with WAIF and not buy the current building when the lease ends next year.
According to Dresker’s report, dogs would be brought to WAIF’s facility in Coupeville for both the initial holding period and while waiting to be adopted. Cats would continue to be brought to the city’s facility for their holding period and then be taken to the Coupeville facility while waiting to be adopted.
Shari Bibich, the manager of the city’s current holding facility and the WAIF shelter in Coupeville, said that Dresker’s reccomendation is similar to the shelter’s contract with Island County.
“We built the shelter with the space needed for both contracts and the public, and we would be fine with that,” Bibich said.
Lost animals go to the city’s leased building for a holding period and then are transported to the WAIF facilities, so under Dresker’s reccomendation, “they would just be here a little bit earlier,” she said.
The city would also need to find a veterinarian to contract for as-needed animal sheltering for animals picked up at night or other circumstances that would prevent them from being taken directly to the WAIF facility.
However, the animals would be taken to the WAIF facility the next day.
Dresker noted that the city should consider building its own small, temporary sheltering facility in case the veterinarian’s contract should end in the future.
Dresker estimates that the second option would save the city $76,436 in 2019, compared to animal sheltering costs in 2018.