County Considers $1.2 M Plan for Animal Control
The proposal would extend an agreement with the Chester County SPCA.
MEDIA–Delaware County is considering a long-term plan for animal control which would cost more than $1.2 million over five years.
The proposal—which was discussed at a municipal town hall meeting held by the Delaware County Animal Protection Board on Thursday—calls for the Chester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to enter into a long term agreement with Delaware County communities for the handling of the county’s stray cats and dogs, according to a written copy of the presentation which was given at the meeting.
If approved, the extended agreement would run from Jan 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2017, during which time the Animal Protection Board would be committed to making $1,293,750 in payments to the Chester County SPCA, the presentation stated.
Thomas J. Judge Jr., chairman of Delaware County’s Animal Protection Board, provided Patch with a copy of the presentation and said via e-mail that he prepared the presentation himself.
The next step in the process is to determine if Delaware County's municipalities will support the proposed agreement, and decide how to “deal with communities that are not paying or fall behind in payments,” the presentation stated.
According to the Delaware County Daily Times, several municipalities are behind in paying its animal control bills. The county fronts $30,000 each month for animal control and some towns have been slow to reimburse.
In order to become a lifesaving shelter, the non-profit Delaware County SPCA stopped accepting stray animals on Jan. 1, 2012, at which time the Animal Protection Board reached an agreement with the Chester County SPCA, while a new animal shelter was to be constructed.
With plans to build a new animal control facility in Darby Township, the agreement to pay the Chester County SPCA to handle Delco’s strays was intended to be temporary and a ground breaking ceremony was held in October to begin the project.
The Animal Protection Board extended its Chester County SPCA agreement through the end of the year but is now asking the Chester County SPCA to consider an extended agreement through 2017.
During the first year of the new, proposed agreement, the Animal Protection Board would guarantee 75 animals per month in January, February and December, at the current rate of $250 per animal, with a monthly upfront fee of $18,750, according to Judge’s presentation.
From March through November 2013, the Animal Protection Board would guarantee 90 animals per month at the same rate ($250 per dog or cat) and pay an upfront monthly fee of $22,500, the presentation stated.
Starting in 2014 and ending in 2017, the rate charged per animal rate would be based on the Consumer Price Index for the Philadelphia metropolitan area, the presentation stated. The base index in December 2011 was $234.32, according to Judge’s presentation.
Although Chester County SPCA can terminate the agreement without penalty on one year’s written notice, Delaware County would incur penalties for early termination, the presentation stated.
During the first three years of the agreement, the county would be required to give a one-year notice for early termination and would pay a $135,000 penalty to the Chester County SPCA, the presentation stated.
After June 30, 2015, six-months’ notice is needed for early termination and the fine is $35,000, according to the presentation.
The Delaware County Council “will provide catastrophic penalty support on penalty payments,” the presentation stated.