Moose Jaw in dogfight over Humane Society costs

A dispute has broken out in Moose Jaw over a contract for impounding stray animals.

At issue is how much it really costs to care for abandoned cats and dogs.

In Moose Jaw, the city pays the Humane Society to run the pound, but the two sides have hit a snag when it comes to negotiating a new contract.

The Humane Society is looking for a big increase. It says it costs more than $380,000 to run the animal shelter, but the city pays only 20 per cent of that.

It's not asking for the city to finance the Humane Society, it says it just wants money to impound animals on a fee-for-service basis.

Meanwhile, the city wants to know why the cost of impounding animals — 1,500 cats and dogs a year, according to the Humane Society — has more than tripled.

"It goes from about $300 a day to $1,000 a day," city manager Garry Mackay said. "So we've asked for additional information which we've yet to receive."

Specifically, the city wants to know how the charity pays for the other services it provides.

But Humane Society financial officer Dave Field says the city only pays to impound animals and it doesn't need to see how the money from other donations is spent.

"They contribute no dollars, so our opinion is they're not entitled to see our books," Field said.

He added the city has three options: "They can renew the contract with us at a negotiated rate; they can do it themselves with city employees and city resources, or they can tender it."

For now, the Humane Society will continue to operate the pound, but that could change if a deal isn't reached soon.