Sudbury city councillors have voted in favour of sweeping changes to animal control services.
Council approved a measure that would ensure bylaw enforcement is left with the city to enforce, taking over the role currently held by the Rainbow District Animal Shelter. A new staff of municipal employees will replace six shelter employees when their contract ends in November.
There are plans to hire three more bylaw officers by year's end as the city wants to enforce animal control rules seven days a week.
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Jill Pessot with the Sudbury rescue group Pet Save said council's decision was the best way forward.
"I think that by bringing the bylaw enforcement in-house, we will get to see an accurate picture of what the needs for the city really are," she said.
Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann said local politicians were left with little choice in the matter.
"If we look at the services that were contracted out 10 years ago, the numbers haven't changed. We haven't made a dent in it. We need to look at another way of doing things."
1-day training questioned
Richard Paquette, manager of the Rainbow District Animal Shelter, said council is making a mistake.
"They just basically voted to cut the service level in half," he said.
Paquette criticized the thought process behind council's decision to only implement one day's worth of animal control training for city staff.
"Instead of having a team with 90 years of combined experience out on the road catching dogs, you're going to have guys that haven't done it in 12 years trained by a one-day training session. It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me."
The manager blamed misinformation provided by city workers and councillors for the loss of six jobs at his shelter.
"The amounts of mistruths in the information that staff and council presented there was inexcusable in my opinion and your jobs are all lost because of that."
But Landry-Altmann said reform is not just necessary; it's overdue.
"If we are going to make a change in feral cats, if we are going to make a change in the multiplication of cats, we have to change," the councillor said.
"The numbers have not changed."