Ogden and Weber County May Consolidate Animal Shelter

Ogden and Weber County May Consolidate Animal Shelter

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The city-run Carol Conroy Browning-Ogden Animal Shelter likely would close under a possible consolidation of animal control and shelter services with Weber County.

The Weber County Animal Shelter likely would expand.

The idea of consolidation has been tossed around for more than a decade, but representatives from municipalities -- most of which contract with either Ogden or Weber County for shelter services -- have not been able to reach a consensus.

However, Ogden officials are again talking about consolidation.

"The main thing we're interested in is, can we provide good services to our constituents, to the citizens of this city, for a more effective cost?" said Ogden Public Services Director Dave Harmer, who oversees animal services. "It should be more cost-effective to operate it on a countywide basis than it is on a city-by-city basis."

At last week's Weber Area Council of Governments meeting, a recently appointed task force presented mayors from the county with preliminary estimates of what consolidated animal services would cost their cities. The council is to discusses the matter again at its July 11 meeting.

In another development, Carol Browning, who is a member of the Ogden-Weber County Humane Society and for whom the city animal shelter is named, has blasted the city for its use of an addition to the center.

Browning raised most of the money for the $288,000 addition that was dedicated in 1988.

She said the city has failed to use the addition for its intended purpose -- the education of schoolchildren on humane practices.

Instead, about two-thirds of the addition is occupied by the manager's office and an area for animal control officers to fill out reports, and funds reserved for humane education have gone unused.

"Ogden City has refused to even meet with the Humane Society to discuss these blatant public trust violations, perversion of donated space, and breach of good faith," Browning said in a prepared statement last week.

"Without an effective humane education component, the shelter will remain an extermination camp -- a simple Band-Aid solution to a massive pet overpopulation problem," Browning said, referring to the city shelter's 3,000 euthanizations per year. "It is devastating for pets and people of Ogden and Weber County that the city has lost its vision."

Harmer said the city has no obligation to use the addition for education.

"Basically the Humane Society did help raise funds for the addition to the building, but the only stipulation attached to that was if they provide those funds to the city, the city had to build the addition, which it did," Harmer said. "There were no covenants or other legal requirements. As far as I can see, I find no support for her allegation."

Harmer said the Humane Society was supposed to provide an instructor for humane education but never did so.

He denied that city officials have refused to meet with Humane Society representatives.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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