Interesting stuff emerged last week as the Stephenville town council voted on a motion to end the current dog catching contract, or what some refer to as animal control services.
Stephenville Mayor Tom Rose said the former town council was operating in violation of the Public Tender Act for this service, which former Mayor Tom O’Brien had always contended was an opinion put forward by the Government Purchasing Agency and was just that – an opinion.
At Thursday’s council meeting, Rose had an ally in Coun. Mark Felix, chairman of the town’s finance committee, who said he is not prepared to support operating outside the tendering policies Municipal Affairs expects council to follow.
He followed up with saying nothing against the person doing the dog catching duties and he’s sure that person has been doing a good job for a long time, but just to be handing over a contract worth $40,000 to $50,000, a truck and fuel card in the absence of having this activity properly tendered is not a practice that he, as a new councilor, is prepared to continue to support.
Felix made a motion that council provide written notice of cancelling its dog catching contract within 60 days and re-evaluate how it will deal with this situation in the New Year and what funding and tendering process it would commit to for getting this service provided.
He said in fact, the taxpayers of Stephenville would be better served having these funds redirected into a municipal enforcement officer position with dog catching as a secondary duty.
Is this a bit of déjà vu here as both duties used to be handled by the same person?
Felix also said during the municipal election he knocked on more than 1,000 doors and 60 per cent of them had dogs, which most people treat like a member of their family.
“I think we’re (town) paying too much for a dog problem we don’t have,” Felix said.
That may well be correct right now that there is not a dog problem, but the reason for this may well be that because there is animal control in place.
Remove animal control from the equation and it may not be long before four-legged creatures are once again out roaming around. That’s because two-legged creatures take advantage of situations presented to them.
Another part of this whole equation is what happens to animal control in a number of communities in the Bay St. George area that are sharing the dogcatcher.
Are the rest of them going to be able to afford keeping him on or is he even going to be willing to do it for them?
Now that the Stephenville town council has voted unanimously to eliminate the position and decide in the New Year what their plan is, there are some questions that remain to be answered and it will be up to them to do so once issues pop up from this decision.