City will seek alternatives to euthanasia
The City of Moose Jaw does not intend to be in the business of killing animals.
© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Moose Jaw city manager Matt Noble is pictured at the Nov. 25, 2013 council meeting.
"I know people are upset about the five-day bylaw, but that doesn't mean the automatic next step will be to put the animal down," Mayor Deb Higgins told the Times-Herald Wednesday.
"We will work with the humane society if there is room here. If there isn't, we will then try to look for animal rescue services like the humane society. … We will look for other rescue organizations to fulfill that role."
The mayor also said "responsible pet owners" would have their animals licensed, which would prevent any confusion if they get loose.
"A dog with licenses is very easy to track. We can — in minutes — find out who the owner is and begin the process of contacting them," she said.
Higgins is not the first city official to suggest Moose Jaw may not euthanize the animals it captures on and after Jan. 1, when the contract for pound-keeping services with the Moose Jaw Humane Society (MJHS) has ended.
Matt Noble, Moose Jaw's city manager, said on Tuesday the city would seek rescue services to take in the animals held in its kennels as their five-day stay nears its end.
Euthanasia will only be used if there is no other option, contrary to rumours that have been circulating since the story broke.
Noble said the rumours were just some of the "bald faced lies" that have been "creating controversy in the community" over the past day.
He added that some of the misconceptions have originated from the MJHS, including the belief that the city hasn't made any offers or attempted negotiations.
"We had meetings here, and I took a whole entourage of administrators to the humane society so we could tour their facility and understand what their challenges are," he said. "That isn't 'showing no concern.'"
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But the problems may have preceded Noble.
The MJHS had attempted to open negotiations with the city when the prior contract was nearing its expiry, John LaBuick told the Times-Herald in September.
LaBuick, president of the organization's board, said in that interview the humane society had "not yet sat down with a city group, individual or any representative and done some serious negotiating."
At a rally of humane society supporters at Java Express Wednesday morning, Kristyn McEwen — the executive director of the organization — said that silence aggravated an already difficult situation.
"It was, for us, a sign that this wasn't a big deal. … We had given them notice, but continued on in good faith for an entire year. At that time, they hadn't recognized anything we had put out there," she said. "We weren't hearing anything back."
And the increasing hostility between the city and the public — which Noble suggested has been engineered or directed by humane society interests — has made the situation worse.
"It shows to me that they're not interested in doing the business of the society as much as they are inflaming the situation," he said.
"And that's sad."