Every year, about 600 stray, abandoned and abused dogs are rescued from the streets of Syracuse by Dog Control and Animal Cruelty Investigators. First reported on NewsChannel 9, in less than three months, the city of Syracuse will need a new place to take them.
After holding a contract and partnership with the city’s Dog Control Office for 30 years, DeWitt Animal Hospital tells NewsChannel 9 it has chosen not to renew the agreement when it expires on March 31, 2019.
“We have decided to return our attention back to our wonderful clients and concentrate more on that,” said Dr. Robert Wilcox, owner and lead veterinarian at DeWitt Animal Hospital. “This was stated in the letter I sent to the city three weeks ago. No ill feelings whatsoever. We have had a wonderful run with the city for the last 30 years.”
City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Julie LaFave confirms the non-renewal of the contract is on good terms and is thankful for all DeWitt Animal Hospital has done in its partnership with Syracuse over the years.
The city is currently exploring options and will undertake an RFP process, according to LaFave.
“The good thing is we’ve had really positive relationships with a lot of the animal welfare groups in the city so we’ve already started the conversations,” LaFave said. “We’ve already identified a few vendors who willing to step up and assist with some of the capacity we will need moving forward.”
LaFave says this contract is put out for an RFP every three years, it just happens that DeWitt Animal Hospital has come through each time. LaFave says this might be an opportunity for a new vendor or a few to step up and make a difference.
The new vendor or vendors will assume responsibilities including emergency veterinary care, vaccines, basic daily care and boarding.
Because some of the dogs picked up in the city turn into animal cruelty cases, Investigator Becky Cosgrave says developing a new and solid partnership with another vendor is important.
“It’s extremely crucial,” Cosgrave said. “You’re talking about emaciated animals that need 24-hour care. Frozen animals that need to be taken care of, overheated dogs in the summertime…neglected with open wounds, sores that need antibiotics and wound care. It’s very crucial.”
LaFave says the contract between the Dog Control Office and DeWitt Animal Hospital has run on a $100,000 annual cap — which means the city would pay for services as needed up to a total of $100,000.
Although the Syracuse Dog Control Office’s needs never exceeded $100,000 — the additional costs would be covered by the DeWitt Animal Hospital for anything above the cap.
As the city explores new options, LaFave welcomes capable local veterinary offices and animal shelters to reach out with feedback on potential resources for the new contract’s vendor(s). LaFave can be reached at (315) 473-4330.