Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- This week, the SPCA will send out formal contracts to each municipality in Onondaga County for cruelty investigations. The state’s decision to stop handling dog licensing
and the associated fees has meant a cut in funding for this particular SPCA service.The SPCA pulled about 70 cats from a Syracuse home in the fall.
It’s a service the county used to pay for. But now that the state is out of the licensing business that money is no longer there to pay for cruelty investigations. The agency has decided it will contract with each town and the city to pay for it. Syracuse, which would have to pay about $10,000, doesn’t seem convinced it’s a worthwhile service and may not agree to the contract.
"We’re watching every penny as we talk about this, and certainly we want to deal with this issue in the City of Syracuse. We have a contract with the DeWitt Animal Hospital, so we're looking at all of those things as we move forward to the New Year,” explained City of Syracuse Chief of Staff, Bill Ryan.
"What I've been told is they're going to want the city police to respond to it and it's not that they can't do it. They can make the arrests,” said Paul Morgan with the SPCA, "The bigger problem I see is what are they going to do with the animals?"
Some municipalities have already agreed to contract, just the boarding of animals alone more than makes up for the cost of the contract.
Town of Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes said, "It just seemed like the probably less expensive way and an insurance policy for us to handle this type of thing."
Morgan figures it costs approximately nine cents to house each of the animals they seize during a cruelty investigation. From a high of $10,000 in the city to a low of a bout $150 in Spafford, Morgan says it will make up for the $40,000 no longer funded by the county for handling cruelty calls.
If the SPCA can’t get the contracts signed, Morgan says they’ll have to stop responding to cruelty calls.
Each municipality has until the end of January to decide if they will sign the contracts. Morgan says if not, the SPCA will consider case-by-case charges, but they will likely be far more expensive than a yearly contract.