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Council continues to discuss animal control service for city

By Staff | Aug 31, 2010

City Ordinance 75-10, if adopted, will amend the city’s animal control policy to that of Lee County’s and save the city over $80,000.
Lee County is asking the city adopt its animal control policy in order to provide those cost savings for a year-long contract for animal control service with a price tag of $805,821.
If the city chooses not to adopt the ordinance, then that price tag goes up to $886,403.
During Monday’s workshop meeting Monday, Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz equated the savings to being “abused” by the county.
Chulakes-Leetz also had multiple issues with the county’s animal control policy language.
He said the city should demand a 14-day holding period for animals, not support the slaughter of animals for religious purposes and owners should have a choice whether or not to microchip their pets.
Supporting the ordinance, and, in turn, the contract, does a disservice to the Cape, he said.
“We should not allow the county to bribe us to enforce their ordinance,” he said Monday. “It’s a bribe to make sure we succumb to their way and I don’t appreciate it.”
The city has long been curious about instituting its own animal control service, but little headway has been made over the years.
The city does have a Request for Proposal floating around in an effort to try and quantify the cost of such a program, but with time running out to endorse the county’s proposal, there’s little choice but to employ the county’s service once more.
Council has to adopt the ordinance by Oct. 1.
“Given the time we have left, I think we have no choice but to enact this and hope we can get together a program next year before we’re saying the same thing again,” Councilmember Bill Deile said.
Chulakes-Leetz said he would not support the county’s policy without changes the language he took issue with, but City Manager Gary King said the county does not want to hear from the city.
“If we attempt to make any modifications, we’ll be met with deaf ears,” King said.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail cited Santeria as a religion that utilizes animal sacrifices in its rituals, and said any attempt to take that away would infringe on constitutional rights.
“We may end up in a court case if we try to strike that particular line in the document,” McGrail said.
Mayor John Sullivan speculated that Cape Coral was paying a third of the county’s operating costs, and should have more say.