Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Louisiana SPCA won't renew New Orleans animal-control contract

Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 6:01 PM

For the first time in 60 years, the Louisiana SPCA next year will not provide animal-control services in New Orleans, an agency spokesman has said.

santa-spca-shelties.jpgView full sizeSanta, aka John Davenport, shows off nine shelties at Jefferson Feed and Seed on Dec. 11. A local photo studio was shooting pet photographs to raise money for the Louisiana SPCA and Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue. The nine shelties are the pets of Karen Boss, Francis DiFranco, Kathy Singleton and Donna Murphy.

The organization's board decided during a meeting Wednesday not to renew its contract with the city because it cannot provide humane services for $1.7 million, the sum the New Orleans City Council allocated in the 2011 budget, spokesman Katherine LeBlanc said.

The figure includes $200,000 that was added by the council to the sum Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration had earmarked for the service.

Louisiana SPCA officials had requested $3 million next year to continue their work for City Hall but would have settled for $2.5 million, LeBlanc said.

Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ann Duplessis recently told Louisiana SPCA officials that the city has found "another viable option" to provide animal-control services at the budgeted price, LeBlanc said.

"We were surprised to hear that somebody else would be able to do it at $1.7 million," LeBlanc said. "We twisted the numbers and turned the numbers and really tried to figure out how we could do it, and we couldn't."

Landrieu spokesman Ryan Berni, however, indicated that the city has not selected a new vendor.

"We remain confident that we will be able to execute a cooperative endeavor agreement with another animal control provider in the region to secure these critical services for our residents," he said in an e-mail message. "We are committed to providing good animal control services at a price the city can afford."

The Louisiana SPCA will continue its other work in New Orleans, she said, noting that the agency plans to keep a close eye on whether the city's new vendor lives up to its own standards for the humane treatment of animals.

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