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Mayor Hagen on Animal Allies: 'It's an Affordability Issue'

Updated: 01/15/2014 11:13 PM
Created: 01/15/2014 8:56 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Two years and countless conversations later, Animal Allies will cut ties with Superior.

"By us getting out of the way, we're hoping that will allow the city of Superior to move forward with what works for them," Animal Allies Executive Director Rick Sailstad said.

Sailstad said Animal Allies initially entered a contract with Superior with an understanding a new shelter and adoption center would be built. The same shelter still stands today.

"Recently, new ideas have come forward and that mission may have changed for them," Sailstad said.

Sailstad said Superior wants to move forward with an intake-only facility. Mayor Bruce Hagen said they wouldn't just take animals; they would also require another organization to help with adoptions.

Hagen reiterated that model would not mean animals are euthanized. He said the ability to adopt the animals will be necessary.

Hagen also said he's not ruling out a full-service adoption shelter.

"It's not about doing it; it's about affordability," Hagen said.

Hagen said Animal Allies wanted to serve the entire county. He said that costs about $1 million more than a city shelter. Hagen said a city shelter costs between $2.1 to $2.3 million. Hagen said the city was also concerned about the cost of sustaining the shelter once it was built.

"There isn't anyone on the council who doesn't love, believe and want to take care of the animals," Hagen said. "It's a business decision about what can you sustain and afford."

Animal Allies will continue to manage the current shelter for 90 days.

Volunteers at the Superior shelter said employees there will be losing their jobs. Animal Allies could not be reached for comment on that.

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