Taking care of your own

It’s called taking responsibility. The Humane Society’s new funding plan is a step in the right direction in terms of animal control.

Starting in January, funding for the Humane Society will no longer be the responsibility of the region. Currently, regional government forks out a grant of $357,000 annually.

But that’s about to change. Last spring, regional council voted to discontinue funding for animal control and pound services provided by the Society as of next January.

Claiming that the Humane Society is “not really in our bag of responsibilities,” council suggested the Society turn to the 11 individual municipalities to make up the shortfall. Councillors reasoned that the region shouldn’t be paying for the care of animals that are the property of all of the municipalities.
Good for them.

Under the new funding plan, each municipality will pay an amount proportionate to the number of animals that come from its area. In other words, there’s now a user fee.

What that means is that each municipality now has more incentive to crack down on animal control. Rather than sitting back and doing nothing, secure in the knowledge that the region is footing the bill, each municipal government will have a reason to take action to keep its animals under control.

If it doesn’t, it will face financial consequences. For example, about half of the Humane Society’s animals come from the City of Ottawa. Under the new plan, Ottawa alone will have to cough up about $204,000. And when money is hard to come by, the Humane Society will surely welcome a little extra income: it expects to get $50,000 more under the new plan than it used to get from the region.

Paying for your own property just makes sense. If one area’s animals are a particular problem, there’s no reason why others should have to carry the cost of their care. Taxpayers in Gloucester aren’t interested in paying to take care of animals that belong to Ottawa.

The only hitch in the plan is the instability. Each municipality is expected to be under contract with the Humane Society for one year, after which the situation will be reviewed. The Humane Society could run into problems if any of the municipalities decide not to provide the money again. But the review is a normal precaution to take with any new financial plan.

Municipal governments will finally have to deal with their own problems. Taking care of your own —what a concept.
Crystal Kingwell, Meranda Waters