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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has once again delayed taking action on the contract with the Dunn County Humane Society, postponing it this time until the December 10 meeting.
At the October 22 meeting, the Colfax Village Board also delayed making a decision on the contract because village trustees wanted a representative from the humane society to attend a meeting in person to answer questions.
Joshua Dalton, executive director of the Dunn County Humane Society, attended the November 26 meeting of the Colfax Village Board.
As long as a municipality has a contract with the humane society, anyone — private citizen or law enforcement — can bring in a stray animal, Dalton said.
If someone has been feeding a stray animal for a week or two while attempting to find the owner, the animal can still be brought to the Dunn County Humane Society, he said.
After someone has been feeding an animal for more than three weeks, however, the animal would be considered as belonging to the person who was feeding it, Dalton said.
Colfax Village Board members had previously had questions about “large intakes.”
According to the contract, “any seizure of animals in excess of a quantity of 10 shall be construed as a large scale influx, and shall not be the sole financial and physical responsibility of the shelter. The municipality will be required to assist in the financial and medical care and placement of the animals.”
“Large intakes” would refer to situations where someone has, for example, 30 dogs or cats that are not being cared for or a “puppy mill.”
In the last five years, there have been three such large-intake cases in Dunn County, Dalton said.
In those situations with large numbers of animals, law enforcement becomes involved, and at that point, the humane society would ask the municipality in which the animals had been found for financial help in feeding and providing care for them, he said.
Keith Burcham, village trustee, wondered how stray animals from a municipality are handled if the municipality does not have a contract with the humane society.
If the municipality does not have a contract, it is up to the municipality to take care of the stray animals, and the animals cannot be brought to the Dunn County Humane Society, Dalton said.
Municipalities that elect to take care of their own strays must follow certain regulations in providing shelter for them. Kennels for dogs, for example, must be of a certain size and of a certain construction to provide protection from the weather, he said.
But if the municipality does not have a contract, can residents bring animals to the humane society anyway? asked Village Trustee Margaret Burcham.
“No,” Dalton replied.
According to statistics Dalton supplied to the village board, in 2017, there eight stray cats and four stray dogs from Colfax that were brought to the Dunn County Humane Society.
From January 1 until September 30 of this year, there have been four cats and two dogs brought to the Dunn County Humane Society from Colfax.
The village should be encouraging village residents to use the services of the Dunn County Humane Society, Dalton said.
The proposed contract rate for 2019 is $1.88 per capita, for a total of $2107.48, and for 2020, a per capita rate of $1.99 is proposed for a total of $2,230.79.
The municipalities in Dunn County that contract with the Dunn County Humane Society account for 20 percent of the humane society’s revenue, Dalton said.
The Dunn County Humane Society also does quite a lot of fundraising, he said.
The humane society used to receive a subsidy of $20,000 from Dunn County. The subsidy was reduced to $9,000 and now the subsidy from the county is zero, Dalton said.
Anne Jenson, village trustee, said she would prefer to wait to take action on the contract until the village board has had more time to discuss it.
Colfax Village Board members agreed to delay action on the Dunn County Humane Society contract until the December 10 meeting.