Saint John signs dog control deal

The City of Saint John has a new deal for dog control, but still no coverage for cats.

No coverage for cats

The City of Saint John has a new deal for dog control, but still no coverage for cats.

Council approved a new contract with the SPCA-Animal Rescue League on Monday night. Under terms of the new deal, the city will pay the non-profit group $80,000.

It will also tear down the league's dilapidated former building on Taylor Avenue in the city's north end at a cost of $18,000.

The shelter has a new, larger location on Bayside Drive, on the city's east side.

The city has been without animal control since March 1 when it cut the SPCA's $160,000 budget in half as part of overall budget cuts.

The non-profit group, which was already struggling financially, said it could no longer afford to keep providing animal control service.

Some citizens had expressed concern about what would be done to fill the void.

City staff have been handling all calls about animal control and animal licences since the last contract ended.

The SPCA usually receives between 10 and 15 calls a day about strays or nuisance animals, officials have said.

It provides food, shelter, and medical services to more than 100 animals.

Last year the SPCA received $160,000 from the city. That went toward keeping a vehicle on the road to respond to calls, plus medical care, food and shelter for the strays.

But the operating costs fell short by $50,000. So, this year the SPCA had asked for an increase - a contract worth $200,000.

On Feb. 1, council passed the 2012 budget, which cut $9 million in services across the board. Animal control was one of those services.

SPCA executive director Kari Poore previously told CBC News she was worried about an increase in the population of stray animals.