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Humane society, city hit roadblock

The Humane Society of Douglas County won’t be taking on care and adoption for the city of Superior when Animal Allies contract is up at the end of April.

In a letter dated Feb. 12, humane society board president Michelle Porter advised Mayor Bruce Hagen about the board’s decision.

“We discussed at length the opportunity to contract with the city of Superior to manage the intake, care and adoption of the animals within the city limits,” Porter wrote in the letter. “Our Board has voted unanimously that we are not able to contract with the city of Superior to be the animal shelter for all of Douglas County.”

Until Animal Allies announced last month that it would cease operating the Superior animal shelter effective the end of April, the Humane Society of Douglas County anticipated closing its doors once a new shelter serving Douglas County was built in Superior.

Design of an 8,600-square-foot shelter was put on hold by the City Council in December, stalling a project that has been six years in planning.

“The biggest roadblock for HSDC is the fact that neither the $2.1 million … previously set aside for the building of a new animal shelter, nor the $410,000 previously committed from Douglas County, can be used to modify out existing building to handle the larger amount of animals that would be coming into our shelter,” Porter stated.

Finance Director Jean Vito said the city cannot expend funds on a facility it does not own that’s outside the city limits.

Mayor Bruce Hagen said he appreciates the humane society considering the option and understands it would have been a huge undertaking for them.

With repairs of its own to address, HSDC is planning to address those issues with the help of a large donation bequeathed to the organization last year. A retired railroad clerk, William “Bill” Bunker of Superior, left the organization more than $107,000.

“These repairs need to be addressed now as we know we will be staying in our facility,” Porter wrote in the letter. “We expect these repairs will deplete the generous funds bequeathed to HSDC in the recent past.”

Hagen said city officials are looking internally at the city’s options. In addition, they are looking at the number of strays, which has been way down, and working to develop a plan.

“Everyone wants to put this to bed,” Hagen said.