PAWR Taking Over In Chatham, Tilbury

Municipal Clerk Judy Smith speaking to council about PAWR. October 3, 2016. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Starting the second week of November, animal control operations for Chatham and Tilbury will be handled by Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR).

Current animal control operations are being handled by the OSPCA, however, their decision to not renew their contract had left two groups bidding for the position. The choice for a new contractor had been between PAWR and the Sarnia District Humane Society.

Municipal staff had made the recommendation that PAWR be awarded the contract at the cost of $627,200.52.

During Monday night’s meeting, council approved the recommendation in 10-4 vote. However, there were many questions raised regarding efficiency and costs.

PAWR’s services are expected to cost the municipality $113,661.53 more than what is currently budgeted for animal control services in the Chatham and Tilbury areas.

Municipal Clerk Judy Smith says the $113,000 variance will be brought up during the 2017 budget meeting.

In regards to why staff had recommended PAWR instead of the Sarnia District Humane Society, Smith says there were many factors involved.

“Some of the things that we looked at in addition to cost was the governance,” says Smith. “The PAWR group has a local Chatham-Kent Board of Directors that have much background in enforcement, governance, financial background, [and] animal care.”

In addition, council has made the request for two municipal staff to be appointed as advisors who would also attend PAWR’s Board of Directors meetings.

Smith says staff also recommended council go with PAWR because of its financial transparency and the opportunity for local staffing. Smith says it’s also her understanding that OSPCA staff involved with animal control will no longer be employed once the contract ends.

“Our new contractor being PAWR will have to hire some staff and they have indicated to us that they would be hoping that some of the OSPCA staff would be applying to their positions,” she says.

All animal control contracts for the municipality will end March 31, 2018.

“At that time we’ll be going out for a request for proposal again and looking for potentially one contractor [to serve all of Chatham-Kent],” says Smith. “Also, we could have multiple ones looking for a finished shelter that they’d be able to use.”

PAWR’s contract will come into effect November 11, 2016 at which time they will begin operations at the animal shelter at 405 Park Ave. in Chatham.