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Justin eyes options for animal services

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

JUSTIN — City officials in Justin are seeking alternatives to their current animal service provider, and they hope to have a a new plan or a few options in place for residents before Jan. 1, according to officials.

In early September, the City Council agreed to end the city’s contract with the North Texas Animal Control Authority, after residents in the community voiced concerns about the level of service they receive.

“No matter what service we provide for our residents, we want it to be positive,” City Manager Ashley Stathatos said. “That’s the reason why we wanted to move away from that experience.”

The city has until the end of the year to find an alternative. Per the contract agreement with the animal service provider, the city was required to give 90 days of advance notice before ending the contract.

“I’m not sure what we’ll have in place, but we’ll have something. That’s what we’re working on, and we want to take our time to make the best decision,” Stathatos said.

She said the city is researching alternatives, but she said the search is a little difficult because of the lack of options available and the varying ranges of services that shelters provide.

She said that as city officials research, they are taking note of each shelter’s euthanasia and adoption rates and whether the shelter also picks up dead animals or provides some medical services.

The All American Dogs company, which provides services to many area communities, has been approached by the city and has provided a formal presentation.

Stathatos said that All American Dogs appears to be a frontrunner, but one obstacle the city faces is cost.

Under the contract with the current animal service provider, the city spent $8,000 a year for service. The most recent proposal with All American Dogs is nearly double that at $14,680, an amount that was lowered from the initial bid of $24,000.

Bob Matthews, All American Dogs owner and president, said some of the services that his company will provide if hired include boarding, pet registration, an adoption program and code enforcement.

In a recent interview with Matthews, he said he’s been successful in working with some of the area cities and he hopes to expand.

According to a city staff report, All American Dogs officials have indicated that they are willing to reduce the price even further if the city allows the company to use the city’s former animal control facility, which the city used to run its own animal shelter several years ago.

However, officials have not indicated what further reduction the city would receive if they were to give the facility to All American Dogs.

The city wants a contract that’s reasonable and takes into account the number of animal calls the city receives a month, Stathatos said.

“Our volume of animal calls isn’t that large,” she said.

She said the city would prefer avoiding spending more than $1,200 a month for one or two dog- or animal-related calls.

“We’re just looking for a fair amount,” she said.

The city staff also explored possibly entering into agreements with other cities that have animal control services, but they are all at capacity, too, according to a city staff report.

City staff told City Council members late last month that they would like to spend additional time calling on animal rescue groups and nonprofit humane organizations to see if there are any other options available.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.