In the spirit of transparency, and to empower community members to share their concerns with the City of La Crescent, LAR has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Please share these with anyone who may be interested and watch for potential updates.
1. What can I do to help?
Keep using your voice! Without the amazing outpouring of public support, we would not have made the progress we have so far. Reach out to La Crescent City Council with your thoughts. You do not need to be a resident of La Crescent or Houston County to do so. While this will no longer be voted on by the City Council at the October 23rd meeting, there will be a future public update so stay tuned. Regardless of our future direction, there is much work to do, and we need your support!
You may email your City Council representative or send a letter to City Hall.
City Council Members:
Mike Poellinger, Mayor
2. What does LAR mean by receiving word that the City Council will be advised against continuing the partnership between the two organizations?
On Monday, October 9, LAR's attorney received a letter from the City attorney stating, "The purpose of this communication is to advise you that applicable City staff including the City Administrator, Chief of Police, Public Works Director, and myself will be suggesting that your final offer be rejected by the City Council and that the parties work toward winding down operations of LAR"
This was in response to our best and final proposal to the City.
3. What is going to happen to stray/surrendered animals if the partnership is dissolved?
What this would mean for LAR: in the near term, vacating the current building, finding fosters for all of the current animals, and continuing to operate as foster only. LAR would maintain ownership of all assets and property in a storage facility. In the long term, LAR will look for a new building or building site to relocate the physical shelter. Should the partnership dissolve, LAR will continue to operate as an independent organization. We will vacate the city-owned building and decline to intake animals impounded by the La Crescent Police Department. On average, this is in excess of 50 cats and dogs per year the City would be responsible for per state and local ordinance.
LAR has not been privy to any plans of the City of La Crescent to take on the care of impounded animals. LAR has been transparent with the City as to the legal obligations of a municipality doing such work. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Coordination of Veterinary care, to include vaccinations, and repeated visits where necessary;
Creation, maintenance, and retention of health care records as required by the MN Board of Animal Health (MN BoAH);
Creation, maintenance, and retention of intake, adoption, and resident records;
Management of volunteers or staff to maintain facility and animal care, as indicated by the MN BoAH;
Creation, training, and maintenance of cleanliness protocols, specific to species and disease mitigation, as indicated by the MN BoAH;
Supply planning to ensure basic animal husbandry needs are met at all times, to include but not limited to food/bowls, litter/litter boxes, cleaning tools, medical supplies, housing/beds/pads, and collars/leashes;
Inspection preparedness; and
Advertising of intakes to the community within a 5-day statutory requirement to notify and allow reuniting with family when possible.
4. What are the specific concerns about finances?
The specific line items are building utilities, maintenance, and repairs; and the per animal reimbursement fee for city impounded animals. In our final proposal, we made the significant concession of offering to forego the per animal fee in order to continue the partnership. The per animal fee is the only current cost to the City besides building utilities and any incidental maintenance. They have insisted we absorb all of those costs, which is not financially sustainable for our organization.
Our agreement with the city has always been to receive $100 per animal up to $6000, a limit which we often hit and continue to take in city animals with no reimbursement. At no time have we ever asked the city for this $100 reimbursement for an out of city animal. The shelter bears the full cost of caring for those out of city animals. Furthermore, the $100 per animal does not cover the full cost of caring for each animal. We sustain our organization on donations and adoption fees. In addition to donating to the city all our volunteer hours, we have to raise approximately $40,000 for our own budget to pay for, among other things, vet care, food, litter, office supplies, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, sales tax on our adoption fees, telephone and internet, washers and dryers and stainless steel cages.
The last proposal from the city conceded to LAR’s ability to intake animals from outside the city if we absorb the full costs of building utilities; pay the City’s attorney fees in the case of any disputes; and building maintenance and repairs, of a building the City owns, up to at least $2,500 at which point the City would consider contributing some funds.
LAR is asking for substantially less money from the City of La Crescent to continue to provide the services we provide today, and the ability to enter into agreements with surrounding communities to intake cats and dogs if we have the capacity for those animals. While this would help those cats and dogs, it would also expand our base of volunteers and donors. We have made it abundantly clear to the city we will always have room for city impounded animals as they are our first priority.
5. What is the City of La Crescent going to do with the building LAR currently occupies if the partnership is dissolved?
LAR has not been privy to any plans by the City for the building at 523 S. Chestnut.
The history of the building is that it was built in 2006/2007 in response to an obvious and growing need for an animal shelter. La Crescent Animal Rescue had been established in 2005 and coordinated the building project after being advised by the City of La Crescent that there were no city funds available for it. The building was constructed by volunteers with donated materials. It was then gifted to the City of La Crescent and has since been occupied by LAR in a tenancy arrangement.
6. Has the media been contacted about this?
Yes! LAR has been in touch with local media and the story has already been run by News 8 and News 19. Interviews with one of our board members are coming later this week. Stay tuned for more.
7. Should we start a Go Fund Me?
In addition to the wonderful work our Fundraising Committee does year-round, a Go Fund Me may be a helpful option should the partnership be dissolved. We will make this decision after the City Council meeting.