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County, shelter partner on pets

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| May 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Kootenai Pets For Life – a local animal shelter that will soon be operating out of a new building in Libby – will take over housing, medical needs and adoption of all county animals.

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved of the plan, which excludes any animals in quarantine or characterized as vicious.

“I think it’s a win-win,” said commissioner Marianne Roose, who represents the Eureka region of the county.

Discussion did include some questions about how Troy fits into the plan. Eileen Carney, Kootenai Pets For Life president, said nothing has been formalized yet, but that she anticipates a plan where “they catch them as they do now and bring them over here.”

In a letter prepared for the county, Carney said that under the plan, Kootenai Pets For Life would work as independent contractors and meet the requirements of the county’s animal control program beginning July 1.

“We will provide shelter for a defined holding period for all dogs and cats surrendered to, picked up by, or otherwise obtained by the county animal control officer,” she said. “The defined holding period shall be 72 hours after which the animal becomes the property of KPFL. Animals will be admitted to the shelter using a system approved by the county.”

The plan also calls for the KPFL shelter and its records to be open for inspection by the county at all times. Regular reports will be made to the county with operation details.

The shelter will sell licenses with all money going to the county. However, adoption fees will be kept by the KPFL for operation costs and the spay and neuter program.

“Since we are acting as an independent contractor, we will pay all cost for the operation of the shelter,” Carney said in the letter. “We will employ, train and supervise all personnel. Since our area of operation is larger than that of Eureka, we are asking for $1,900 per month for a total of $22,800.”

The new shelter is located on City Services Road in Libby and Carney said the group hopes to be operating it within the next month. The shelter’s closure date on the current building in Troy was in April but delays at the Libby facility pushed back their departure.

In another matter before commissioners on Wednesday, Dan Williams of the county weed department announced the awarding of $377,000 in stimulus money.

Among the ideas is to implement a more aggressive weed control program possibly in conjunction with city entities. Bill Bischoff, a Libby City Council member, was receptive to the idea.

“At least from my point of view, I’m anxious to see something happen,” Bischoff said. “I think we’re all anxious to get some spraying done within the city. … I think it is a good opportunity to work together and solve the problem.”

Among the other projects mentioned were funds for fuel reduction, hot water stations at county lakes and rehab work that is on Plum Creek property.

Commissioners had concerns over the proposal to include Plum Creek.

“They had some fire rehab that needed to be done in Little Wolf country and some other places where they’ve had wildfires and needed rehab,” Williams said. “It came to their attention that since Plum Creek is laying off so many people, maybe we could put some money into their projects to save some of those jobs.”

Williams was referring to the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Agriculture in terms of entities suggesting that Plum Creek be included.

“From us, that’s a concern,” commissioner John Konzen said. “Why invest in private property of Plum Creek over the private property of our constituents?”

Williams mentioned that the Plum Creek office in Libby is one of the few nationally that will hire a local weed sprayer.

“I don’t think we should be putting money into Plum Creek,” Roose said.

The discussion ended with Konzen simply saying that the commissioners question the Plum Creek aspect of the proposal and perhaps they can get some answers with rationale on why that action should be taken.