(Pet and Wildlife Rescue, Facebook)

Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR) will enter into a new five-year agreement with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to handle animal control and pound services for all of Chatham-Kent.

Council approved a staff recommendation to issue PAWR a tender award contract is the amount of $4,134,265 for a period running from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2024, plus the option to extend for two additional one year terms.

Council voted 10-7 in favour of the recommendation.

Myriam Armstrong, the operations manager at PAWR, said her team was ecstatic with the approval.

“We are very excited to expand our services to the entire Municipality of Chatham-Kent,” Armstrong told the Sydenham Current.

“Over the last two years we have learned a lot and understand the needs of the community so much better.”

Armstrong said hhe has meetings in the works with Chatham-Kent Council members to help explain more about their contract obligations.

“After (Monday) nights council meeting we also realized that there are many misconceptions about our contract duties and what we provide when we are wearing our rescue hat,” she said.

“Therefore we have invited all members of council to meet with us so we can address any remaining concerns.”

Council also approved lease agreements to be entered into with PAWR for the animal shelters in Chatham and Wallaceburg.

A staff report indicates on December 6, 2018 administration advertised a Request for Proposal (RFP) of Animal Control and Pound Services for all of Chatham-Kent.

The RFP closed on January 9, 2019 with PAWR being the only submission, the staff report indicates.

The staff report says a proposal review committee conducted its review of PAWR’s submission in accordance with the Council approved two-envelope proposal review methodology and the evaluation matrix.

The weighted criteria utilized to evaluate the proposal, includes: cost (30%), experience (40%), references (10%), equipment (10%) and facilities (10%).

Staff says PAWR scored 90.125% on the evaluation.

“PAWR currently operates the two shelters (Wallaceburg and Chatham) 365 days a year with the help of 12 staff, and over 80 volunteers,” Nancy Havens, manager of licensing services, said in her report.

“As a result of this contract, if awarded PAWR would hire two additional full time staff –one animal control officer to cover the additional wards and one administrative assistant to assist with everyday business. With the new facility PAWR hopes to offer more programs at the shelter and the community room will be used as an integral part of the community’s social space.”

Animal control and pound services costs are currently covered under the licensing services base budget, a staff report indicates.

The overall financial impact is an increase of $1,045,330 over five years, Havens said in her report.

“The financial implication to base budget is an increase of $159,000 in 2019, as identified in the 2019 budget process, and inflationary increases ranging from 2.0 to 2.7% thereafter,” Havens wrote.

PAWR was established on January 1, 2014 to provide independent animal rescue services, a staff report says.

PAWR received non-profit designation in May 2014 and charitable status in September 2015.

After a few years as an independent organization, PAWR was awarded the contract for animal control and pound services for Wards 2 and 6 in November 2016, and Wards 4 and 5 in December 2017.

After the approval, PAWR posted the following statement on social media, answering the question, ‘what does PAWR do?’:

(Monday) night Pet And Wildlife Rescue was awarded a 5-year contract for Pound Services and Animal Control for the entire Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Since the announcement, we have seen some confusion from members of Chatham-Kent asking what exactly does PAWR do.

Pet And Wildlife Rescue operates the animal shelter in Chatham and Wallaceburg. At our Chatham location we take in all cats (strays or surrenders) from Chatham-Kent, many small animals, stray dogs and dogs people wish to surrender. At our Wallaceburg location we take in stray dogs as well as dogs people wish to surrender from the Wallaceburg area.

Pet And Wildlife Rescue also provides Animal Control Services. Now what exactly is ‘Animal Control Services’? Our 3 full-time officers enforce Chatham-Kent’s Responsible Animal Ownership By-law as well as the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. This includes, licencing, leaving dogs out in extreme weather, dog attacks and bites, dog at large and enforcing the Pit Bull ban.

Below is the link to Chatham-Kent Responsible Animal Ownership By-law and the Dog Owners’ Liability Act

https://www.chatham-kent.ca/…/Animal%20Ownership%20By-law%2…

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90d16

All other services are provided by the rescue side of our organization and is not part of our contract. Which means that as long as one of our volunteer and funds are available we will provide the service, but if not, we may not. We understand how frustrating this can be, and how emotionally charged it can get when you are the one looking for assistance, and we hope that the public understands that for the one complaint about an animal we were not able to help, we assisted many others that were never talked about.

With our new contract, we will continue to provide the same services and will build on our existing programs to promote animal welfare in our community.

If you have any questions please email us at pawrrescue@gmail.com