Updated: 03/18/2014 10:42 PM
Created: 03/18/2014 9:14 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
The Superior City Council chambers were jam-packed Tuesday, full of anxious residents waiting to hear what's to become of their city's stray cats and dogs.
It didn't quite go as planned.
On the agenda, Mayor Bruce Hagen was expected to introduce his resolution that would ask the council for permission to pursue contract negotiations with the City of Duluth for animal care services. The resolution had circulated the community the week prior, causing an uproar on social media.
Instead, the mayor amended his resolution, asking the council permission to enter negotiations with the Humane Society of Douglas County. The Humane Society would temporarily run the city's animal shelter starting May 1, until a new city shelter could be built.
With one councilor absent, the council unanimously approved the resolution.
In January, Animal Allies gave the city a 90-day notice that they would be terminating their management of the city's shelter. It was a sound business decision on their part, said the mayor, but it sent the city into an animal shelter "crisis."
Animal Allies contract is up April 30. With the resolution passed, the humane society would care for the city's strays in the city's shelter on an interim basis.
But going into Tuesday's council meeting, concerned citizens were expecting something much different. A rally before the meeting, had people asking councilors to vote against Hagen's resolution to send their strays to the Duluth shelter.
"I want to support getting a shelter in Superior so we don't have to go all the way to Duluth," said 14-year-old Olivia Anderson-Petroske.
"We don't want our animals going to Duluth, we want to keep them here," said Holly McLean, a volunteer at the Superior shelter.
Some people had their own ideas, such as combining the Animal Rescue Federation (ARF) in Superior with the humane society.
"If we could combine those two and keep it in Wisconsin, keep it in Douglas County, then those animals would have a place to go," said Anne Laible of Superior.
During the meeting, however, the mayor surprised much of the room with his amended resolution. Hagen said rumors surrounding the shelter have been running wild.
Hagen told Eyewitness News Friday that a partnership with Duluth would have been a good business decision, saving money, but that didn't seem to be what the people wanted.
"I'm capitulating to the power of the passion and the anger of the people to not make a good business decision," said Hagen.
The people's voice was very evident in the packed council meeting.
"I am pleased this decision is being made," said Pat McKone, of Superior, during the meeting. "I was horrified to think that we would have outsourced our animals to Duluth."
Under the mayor's proposal, the city will negotiate with the Humane Society of Douglas County in the next few weeks and authorize a contract for a new animal shelter design bid in three months.
Authorities Investigating Possible Homicide on the Fond Du Lac Reservation
Authorities are investigating the death of a 31-year-old woman in Stoney Brook Township on the Fond Du Lac Reservation. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said Monday that they believe the death was an act of violence. One suspect has been taken into custody and authorities are asking for the public's help locating a woman who may have more information.
No Criminal Charges for Superior Officer in Controversial Arrest
Superior Police Chief Charles F. LaGesse announced Monday morning the Bayfield County District Attorney has issued his decision about the actions of Officer George Gothner during the arrest of Natasha Lancour.
Crash Survivor Shares Story To Fight Distracted Driving
An Itasca County woman took the stage at Proctor High School Monday to share her story and raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Paige Anderson was in an accident five years ago when the car she was in was hit by a bus. She's paralyzed from the stomach down and in a wheelchair.
Proctor Police Searching for Suspect in Armed Robbery
The Proctor Police Department is asking for the public's help in their search for the suspect from an armed robbery Sunday night. They say the suspect robbed the Proctor Milk House at gunpoint at about 10:15 p.m.
Early Voting Begins in Wisconsin
Municipal clerks across Wisconsin began accepting ballots Monday. Early voting hours generally run from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays, however local clerks can set their own hours within those perimeters. Early voting ends Oct. 31.