Garden City has cut ties with the Idaho Humane Society to save taxpayer money, but that could mean an impounded pup costs a little more to pick up.
Mayor John Evans said a contract with the Idaho Humane Society would have cost about $100,000 this fiscal year, which would have included patrolling the city and caring for any dogs picked up. When city officials learned they could run their own animal control and kennel for less than half that cost, they opted to do so.
With that, however, come different fees for missing dogs that get picked up. New redemption fees being considered would be $25 for the first day a dog is impounded and $15 after that under an ordinance the city council was to consider Monday. Owners would also have to pay for any veterinary care a dog received.
The Idaho Humane Society charged owners of Garden City dogs $15 for impounding plus $10 per day.
“Our motive here was to save taxpayer dollars while improving the service,” Evans said by phone. “It’s not a real burdensome effort here. The cost to have the Humane Society do it and try to patrol our city was just cost-prohibitive.”
Dogs will be picked up by “public safety aides,” Evans said. Those dogs will go to Garden City’s kennel, a space on 46th Street between Chinden Boulevard and Adams Street with air conditioning and space for dogs to run around. The city contracts with a local kennel company that provides “trained, certified staff” to look after dogs in its care, Evans said.
The transition “isn’t a revenue mechanism” for the city, Evans said. If a dog gets picked up while wearing identification tags, it will be taken home rather than to the kennel.
Thanks to changes in technology, including neighborhood-based social media sites like NextDoor, dogs often don’t even get picked up anymore before being reunited with their owners. Microchipping and other forms of identification are helpful in cutting down on the amount of time a dog is away from its people.
Almost every dog the city picks up has an owner, Evans said. For those who don’t, the kennel contractor has a foster program to help dogs find new families. There is also a system in place to get dogs that are not cared for out of dangerous environments, he said.
“We’re only a little over four square miles,” Evans said, “so we can manage pretty easily.”
The Garden City City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed fees at 6 p.m. Monday at Garden City City Hall, 6015 N. Glenwood St.