Consultants will be reviewing the operations of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, including how many animals are euthanized at the shelter. The agency has cancelled its cat control contract with Kettering and other local municipalities. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Kettering seeks feral cat options after county agreement called off

Currently, when Kettering residents make a complaint to the city’s animal control agent, the agent traps the cat and takes it to the ARC, where the cat is held and euthanized if not claimed. The city pays the ARC $70 for each cat processed. Kettering’s animal control agent received over 3,000 animal complaint calls in the first 10 months of 2018.

The city doesn’t allow dogs and cats to run at large, and those found will be picked up and impounded at the resource center.

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County officials say more than 3,000 dogs and cats were euthanized last year, but a vast majority of them were unhealthy, untreatable and in pain, according to Michael Colbert, the Montgomery County administrator. On average, more than 100 dogs and 20 to 30 cats are housed at the ARC.

A meeting was held recently to discuss the future of ARC and what the organization can do to improve its operations. Cutting cat control contracts for local cities is one of the moves ARC is making as a result of suggestions put forth by an expert hired to help the agency.

“(Next year) is going to be a transformative year at your shelter and it’s going to be unrecognizable in a good way, in the best way,” said Dr. Sara Pizano, creator of Team Shelter USA, which will provide the county with a host of recommendations to lower intake and reduce the number of animals euthanized.

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Pizano said saving more than 90 percent of animals should be the benchmark. Last year, the ARC rate was much lower: 56.7 percent. The number has improved this year, topping 75 percent in July, but dipping to less than 63 percent last month.

Colbert said the county is committed to Pizano’s review — the most extensive the shelter has undergone in 15 years, which includes canceling cat contracts with local municipalities like Kettering.

“We believe that in the first quarter to the second quarter of 2019 almost all of the steps that Dr. Pizano will recommend will be implemented,” Colbert said.

The county said it also is trying to grow the ARC’s live release rate and is pursuing efforts such as an independent review of ARC operations, creation of a volunteer and foster program and the hiring of an outreach coordinator to communicate updates such as photos of animals at the facility.

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Kettering city officials have not said how they will adjust to the canceled cat control contract with ARC.