The inability to agree on a deal has brought Dawson County and the local humane society full circle.
In fact, after the county commission rejected a counter offer from the organization last week, the arrangement reverts to its April 2005 level.
That means the county will pay $60 for each critter animal control takes to the shelter.
Comparing the number of dogs and cats taken to the shelter by animal control last year, the $60 per animal total would equal about $100,000 less than the county’s proposed contract, which the humane society has opposed.
“It’s so far below what anybody else gets to care for the animals,” said a tearful Candy Adams, president of the society. “We are trying to save the animals, not kill them.”
The parties have spent several months in talks over budget cuts, audits and contract negotiations.
The commission voted Feb. 18 to pay the shelter $150,000 in 2010, the equivalent of $12,500 a month, and gave the shelter board a week to sign the contract.
Instead of a signed contract, the county received a counter proposal last week.
Shelter board members say the cost to care for an animal and prepare them for adoption is more than the county is willing to pay.
County officials contend the shelter is no different than any other county-funded department or organization, whose budgets have been cut in the wake of economic woes.
Adams said the humane society has experienced some of the deepest cuts, more than $30,000 last year.
“All we’re asking is to be treated fairly and treated like we are an asset and not a liability to the people,” she said.
Shelter board members met with County Attorney Joey Homans on Monday to discuss the next step in negotiations.
A humane society board meeting is scheduled for Thursday night.
“I’m going to take this back to our board and we will decide how to move forward,” Adams said.