Humane Society gets more cash

July 22, 2005
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region will get almost $15,000 a month more to provide animal control in Colorado Springs than the organization it is replacing.
Pikes Peak Humane and city officials completed an interim contract Thursday that runs from Saturday through Dec. 31. It calls for the humane society to receive $75,000 a month, or $396,775 for the rest of the year. Officials cut the deal after the Colorado Humane Society announced this week that it was bailing on its contract after a rocky 19 months as the city’s animal-control provider. Colorado Humane lost almost $600,000 in that time and was criticized for poor relations with the public. Englewood-based Colorado Humane won the contract from Pikes Peak Humane, a local organization, in December 2003 by underbidding the city’s animal-control provider of 53 years by $505,000. But City Council members soon learned that saving money was not the key to providing animal control — or to balancing the budget. Council members agreed to pay Colorado Humane $175,000 after Colorado Humane director Mary Warren accused them of breach of contract. Forced to share the shelter with Pikes Peak Humane, Colorado Humane had to put its front desk and reception area in a garage in the back of the structure. Pikes Peak Humane will get $14,250 a month more than Colorado Humane — a 23.5 percent pay bump that will cost the city nearly $75,000 more for the rest of this year. Councilman Richard Skorman noted that the city has been paying Pikes Peak Humane $6,000 a month to maintain the shelter building, so the additional cost to the city will be $8,250 a month. What matters more, he said, is the city knows it will get high-quality service from Pikes Peak Humane. “We’re primarily concerned that there’s a seamless transition,” Skorman said. “We weren’t expecting Colorado Humane to give up their contract on such short notice, so this is the best we can do.” Stan Kouba, president of Pikes Peak Humane’s board of directors, said Colorado Humane’s troubles proved that the contract had to be increased. “We will not match Colorado Humane’s bid, because they obviously . . . badly underbid that contract,” Kouba said. Pikes Peak Humane takes over the animal- control service at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will open the animal shelter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, a service Colorado Humane did not offer. During the rest of the week, it will operate during daylight hours from November through March and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April through October. Kouba said he hopes to negotiate a long-term contract with the city, but council members say they are not sure what they want to do after Dec. 31. They probably will take the next few months to decide and then put the new contract out to bid, Councilman Jerry Heimlicher said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0184 or CALLING FOR HELP Colorado Springs residents who need animal-control help after 12:01 a.m. Saturday should call the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at 473-1741.
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