Citizens speak against closing pound
Clintonville city council urged to delay decision
By Bert Lehman
Citizens addressed the Clintonville City Council about a proposed contract with Clintonville Veterinary Hospital for stray animal boarding services.
“I would like to suggest to the council that perhaps you table this for six months and let the citizens who love and care for the work that the pound does try to develop a ‘friends of the pound’ group,” said Jill Meyer of Clintonville.
She said she has nothing against Clintonville Veterinary Clinic, but believes there is a better way for this to be handled.
“It would be nice if the citizens could be a part of it,” Meyer said.
Former Clintonville alderwomen Gloria Dunlavy said she is disappointed with the direction the city is moving in regards to the animal pound. She also claimed the city didn’t provide the citizens with much notice regarding the potential change.
She also questioned the $4,500 the change would save the city.
“What the heck is $4,500, people, when it’s an animal?” Dunlavy said.
Donations to pound
Nissa Vinquist of Caroline, told the council she is involved with the Clintonville animal pound because she is on the board of directors for Shawano Cares about Critters. She said Shawano Cares about Critters spends a lot of its budget on helping the animal pound in Clintonville.
“We donate money. We donate food. We donate resources to this pound to save this city money,” Vinquist said.
She said 90 percent of the cats the animal pound takes in are not feral, a figure that was given by the city.
“Most cats when they come in are scared, they are not feral,” Vinquist said. “And with a few days of care and love they actually turn into very social, friendly cats.”
She didn’t think the Clintonville Veterinary Hospital would be able to give the cats enough time to turn into social pets. She said the Clintonville animal pound has improved over the years and it isn’t a “death sentence” for an animal taken there.
“But guess what, you change this contract, and if the Clintonville Vet does not have the resources to handle the influx of animals that happen at certain times of the year and the rescue partners to get them out, that’s exactly what will happen,” Vinquist said. “We built up trust. We built up a good program. Don’t destroy it.”
Sarah Frankowski addressed the council about Liz Sorenson, who currently works at the animal pound in Clintonville. Frankowski said Sorenson has done a good job at the animal pound, working with a small budget.
“She has focused on caring for the animals, and especially in the case of young or sick animals, she has even taken them home to give them around the clock care if they need that,” Frankowski said. “She has worked to socialize feral cats.”
Frankowski said she thinks it takes more than seven days for a cat to become social.
She also said she didn’t want to criticize Clintonville Veterinary Hospital, but wondered if it would be working with other shelters to get animals adopted. She said Sorenson does work with other shelters.
“Let’s not go back into the dark ages when the pound equaled a death sentence,” Frankowski said.
She urged the city to come up with a better plan to serve the animals than the proposed contract would.
City urged to table decision
Aurie Vollrath claimed the proposed contract has many ‘holes’ in it.
“To the naked eye it looks like you guys are ready to euthanize people’s pets, all for $4,500 to save,” Vollrath said.
She urged the city to table the contract to allow time to develop a better plan.
“We’ll come up with something. Clintonville will pull together to save these animals and save our pound,” Vollrath said.
Liz Sorenson also addressed the council. She said she was taken by surprise that closing the Clintonville animal pound was being considered.
“I know that the city and the police have long considered the pound a thorn in their side, but I have tried to make it as little of a thorn as possible,” Sorenson said.
She said she doesn’t think the city understands all the work that goes into taking care of stray animals.
“The pound is not a pretty or happy place, but I try to bring enrichment and care to each and every animal in my care,” Sorenson said. “The improvements have been slow, but it’s happened.”
Sorenson claimed the proposed contract with Clintonville Veterinary Hospital is “vague” and doesn’t address a long-term solution to pet overpopulation.
She agreed that some changes need to be made, but this contract isn’t the solution.
Former mayor questions contract
Former Clintonville mayor Lois Bressette asked the council many questions about the contract, including if the city knows how Clintonville Veterinary Hospital will advertise stray animals available for adoption, how the adopters will be screened, will the animals be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, who will pay for that, and what the guidelines are for euthanizing animals?
“It appears that the agreement, that the way the agreement is written, the animals are worth more to the Clintonville Veterinary Hospital dead than they are alive,” Bressette claimed. “The Clintonville Vet Hospital will make more money off euthanasia, so there is actually no incentive to keep the animals and find a home for them.”
Bressette also questioned how passing this contract would save the city any money.
Former city attorney for the city of Clintonville April Dunlavy told the council it should table the contract because she claimed there are a lot of loopholes in the contract and logistic sthat the contract does not address.
The council took no action on the contract at the meeting.