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9:33 PM Mon, Feb. 18th

Humane Society, Mohave County agree to shelter contract

KINGMAN - The Western Arizona Humane Society agreed to an annual contract of $260,000 to operate and manage the Kingman animal shelter, an increase of $60,000 from the contract that ends today.

Mohave County will make quarterly payments of $65,000, with a 5 percent late fee on billings not paid within 30 days, according to the contract that was signed by county administrator Mike Hendrix on Thursday.

In addition to the management compensation, the county also agreed to pay for pest control services, landscaping services and sewage system maintenance.

The county will reimburse Western Arizona Humane Society $8,304 for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC maintenance, along with $3,162 for new kennels built to house dogs during construction.

During negotiations for the contract renewal, WAHS asked for a $100,000 increase, in addition to keeping all fees collected for licenses, impound, shelter and adoption.

Mohave County Board of Supervisors met in executive session on June 15 and voted to approve the contract on a month-to-month basis while staff evaluates financial data submitted by the humane society.

WAHS board of directors then voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with WAHS to continue to operate the shelter," Supervisor Jean Bishop said. "I believe they can do a much better job of caring for our animals and I look forward to a positive relationship."

Patty Gillmore, executive director of Western Arizona Humane Society, said she requested the $100,000 because of rising expenses at the shelter.

"We are well over the budget," she told the Daily Miner. "They came back with us nowhere near where we wanted. It's impossible to do month to month. That's like dating. You might date on a month-to-month basis. You can't run a business on it. It's not fair to our employees. They need to know they have a job a month from now."

The county never had any intentions of shutting down the shelter, Bishop said. A couple of solutions included running the shelter through the county, as it once did, or contracting with the Yavapai Humane Society.

"Shutting the door is not an option," Bishop said. "I have to tell you, as an animal lover, this caught me completely by surprise."

WAHS sent the $260,000 proposal to meet the county down the middle, Gillmore said.

"We're being very fair. We've proved what we can do. We just renewed our contract with Lake Havasu. Not one question, not one problem," she said.

Lake Havasu's contract is for $250,000, and it has about one-fourth the number of dogs, the executive director noted. Kingman brings in about 4,000 dogs a year.

"All I care about is the animals, saving their lives, and the employees we've got," Gillmore said.