After the Cache Humane Society abruptly pulled out of contract negotiations Thursday with Logan and canceled all arrangements with the city effective Aug. 1, Police Chief Gary Jensen said Friday that his animal control officers are no longer bringing impounded animals to the shelter and have instead set up two kennels at the police station.
On Thursday evening he told The Herald Journal that the city had hastily made arrangements with a couple of local veterinarians to place stray or abandoned animals, but by Friday he said those vets pulled out of the agreements.
“If you call us and you have a vicious dog, will we come and get it? Yeah,” Jensen said. “I’m not quite sure what we’ll do with it. Maybe we kill it.”
He added that he has a few in-roads with other animal care providers to potentially take impounded animals, but he did not disclose those organizations. He claimed that Cache Humane Society, or CHS Executive Director Stacey Frisk has smeared Logan city to animal care organizations throughout the valley and the state, urging them not to deal with Logan.
“Not only has she closed the doors and changed the locks, which is not routine, never been done in nine years, she’s gone out in a smear campaign,” Jensen said.
The day after Frisk informed Logan that CHS would end the arrangement, she said Friday night that she is worried about the standard of care for animals at Logan’s makeshift kennel.
“I am really worried,” Frisk said. “I just have no idea what the standard of care is, I don’t know where this temporary kennel is, the public doesn’t know where these animals are being held.”
The struggle between the city and CHS began when an impound contract expired in May. Jensen said for 10 years the two entities had an impound contract that renewed without issue. That changed a year ago when the city started a trap, neuter and release program for cats. He said the two entities wanted to gauge the program in its first year and then renegotiate. Jensen said Logan has been paying its bills to CHS since the contract expired.
After the contract expired on May 16, Frisk said CHS presented Logan with a proposed rate increase for impounding and boarding animals. She said a modest increase was needed to cover increased expenses associated with a “successful transition to a no-kill shelter.”
Logan Municipal Councilwoman Jeannie Simmonds said she attended a couple of meetings with the animal shelter to discuss the contract. She said she told CHS that the city can’t arbitrarily increase rates — it would have to go through the public process of at least two Municipal Council meetings.
“We said that we would put it on the agenda, and they weren’t very happy. They wanted it done then, and we just can’t do it that way,” Simmonds said.
After some negotiation, Logan city on July 18 sent CHS a proposed rate structure of its own. Instead of the shelter billing Logan city a set rate for each day an animal is impounded, along with other fees, Logan proposed paying CHS a lump sum of $20,000 and allowing the shelter to collect impound and boarding fees as well as adoption fees from unclaimed animals, as long as the rates did not exceed those approved by the Logan Municipal Council. In 2016, Logan paid the humane society $30,571, and in 2017 the city paid $24,427.
Jensen said a series of unsubstantiated complaints from CHS employees and the public motivated the city to propose a flat rate. The complaints, Jensen said, claimed fraudulent actions and alleged that CHS was billing Logan for cats that were brought in from outside of Logan. It was also claimed that CHS employees were telling owners of impounded dogs to come back at the end of the state-required five-day waiting period and they would adopt animals back to their owners — thereby making more money than they would for a standard animal recovery.
“From a criminal perspective, yeah, we can’t prove it, OK, but what we can do is contractually mitigate the potential for this kind of behavior,” Jensen said.
Frisk said the Logan proposed flat rate of $20,000 would force CHS to reduce the feeding and cleaning schedule “in a way that we find unacceptable.”
“At the rates they proposed, we would have to drastically lower our level of care,” she said.
The now-expired contract that spanned from May 16, 2017, to May 16, 2018, stipulated that CHS would reserve 10 dog kennels and 12 cat kennels for the six jurisdictions, including Logan, that have impound contracts with CHS. Logan’s proposed contract from July removed those numbers and instead stated CHS will “reserve kennels” for use by impounding jurisdictions.
Frisk said she interpreted the flat rate and the lack of a specific number of kennels in the contract to mean that CHS would be required to reserve unlimited kennel space for the Logan City Police Department.
“I think at that point we recognized that we just weren’t going to be able to come to an agreement,” Frisk said.
But Jensen said he fully expected CHS to come back to the negotiating table after proposing the flat-rate structure.
“That’s what two people do that are negotiating a contract, is give and take and compromise,” Jensen said. “We expected that. We expected them to come back and say, ‘Can we tweak that?’”
Now, according to Jensen, the hopes of salvaging the relationship between CHS and Logan are slim to none. After being partners for 10 years, he said the damage is done and Logan will pursue a different route. He said surprise has turned to anger.
“This has become so emotional and it is emotional because once again, we counted on them,” Jensen said. “We’ve been partners for years.”