By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Starting on Sept. 30, the city of Marshfield will no longer contract with the Park View Pet Motel for the holding and care of stray cats and will begin a new contract with the volunteer organization Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS). The common council approved the new contract with MAPS on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Over the last several months, MAPS has been working to turn the old airport terminal building on the Marshfield Municipal Airport property into a functioning pet shelter. MAPS President Karen Rau said that the shelter is now ready to house cats, though in order for it to accommodate dogs more work still has to be done. Rau said MAPS will focus on taking over the dog contract for the city once the shelter is ready. The city presently contracts with Wenzel Country Stable for holding stray dogs.
“The plan right now is to care for the stray cats at the (airport) facility, and once they are medically cleared, they will be transferred to our adoption center at the (Marshfield) mall. We’re planning to use our mall location for a while because we already have scheduled volunteers there twice a day, and people have gotten used to visiting us there,” Rau said.
Under the contract with the Park View Pet Motel, the city pays $4.50 per cat per day for the seven days that it is impounded, and MAPS volunteers take over after that holding period has elapsed and attempt to find adoptive homes for cats. Under the new contract, the city will pay MAPS $7 per cat per day for the seven-day holding period.
This more costly contract, according to City Administrator Steve Barg, could mean in the area of $3,500 in added expense to the city annually. Barg said that the city feels comfortable with the increase because of the level of care that MAPS is able to provide.
“At first when Karen (Rau) presented this, it raised a few eyebrows, and she went through and said, ‘Look, here’s all the things that we’re doing when these cats are brought in that aren’t done now at the Pet Motel,’” Barg said.
“We felt it was reasonable for the additional charge,” Barg added.
In a document that Rau provided to the city, she cited several enhanced care measures that MAPS would provide cats, including administering medication, testing for various ailments, and examinations by certified veterinary technicians who are MAPS volunteers.
Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza noted that under the new arrangement the burden on ordinance officers, who occasionally had to make extra trips to medicate animals at the pet motel, would be lessened as MAPS will take care of those services now.
“There’s times where there was excessive costs that this will now negate,” Gramza said.
Alderwoman Alanna Feddick was the lone vote in opposition to approving the contract with MAPS.