Saanich Council unanimously approved a recommendation Monday to remove the mandate of dead animal disposal service from the Saanich Pound and Saanich Police and implement a one-year pilot for contracting the service. The recommendation was from a report, submitted by Saanich director of engineering Harley Machielse, that was drafted after a decision by the police board last Decemberto stop services as of June 1, 2020.
The report proposed that the animal removal services be performed by the Saanich Public Works Department. The contract is estimated to cost $50,000 annually, and will be partially offset with $7,500 in disposal funds which is currently a part of the police budget. Based on a police department statistic in the report, it is estimated that 300 dead animals are disposed of annually in Saanich.
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According to the report, the Saanich Pound service has seen little change in resources while the population in Saanich has doubled since the service’s creation in 1968;, making it a challenge for the pound to meet the increasing demand.
During the Feb. 24 Saanich Council meeting, Coun. Nathalie Chambers stated that she was in favour of contracting the service. “This is not the job of the police in my option. I have seen the police struggle with very large wildlife when they could be watching traffic and speeding on roadways,” Chambers said.
The primary mandate of the pound is to respond to calls for the service and enforcement of the Animal Control Bylaw. Saanich currently has 170 parks where the pound and police are responsible for enforcing the bylaw.
The report outlined a list of municipalities, including Vancouver and Victoria, that have their animal disposal services mandated by their public works department. The report highlights that out of all the surveyed municipalities, the Saanich is the only municipality where the service is located within the police department.
“The District plans to engage a contractor to undertake the service and train front counter staff to receive and place calls for service through the contractor,” according to an e-mailed statement from Saanich Engineering.
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