Fees for unsterilized dogs double

Published on Thu, Nov 14, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Fees for unsterilized dogs double

By Meg Olson

City council has approved a new short-term contract with the Whatcom County Humane Society to provide animal control in the city. The deal holds costs to the city at current rates for the next year but boosts costs to pet owners.

The city now pays $900 a month to the humane society for ten hours of animal control patrol each week, at least 120 hours of care for unclaimed animals and euthanasia if necessary. There are additional costs for more patrol hours in the summer and after-hours call outs.

Fines and license fees collected from Blaine pet owners stay with the humane society, who uses them to run the shelter, adoption programs and public education.

At their November 12 meeting council approved more than doubling license fees for unsterilized dogs, from $20 to $41. “That dog causes more problems than sterilized dogs when he’s running loose, costs more to animal control and he’s also more likely to get out,” said Whatcom Humane Society director Peggy Cistaro. “It’s the unaltered female that gets out and has the puppies that wind up in the shelter.”

The license fees for sterilized dogs will go from 10 to 11 dollars. Cistaro said the one dollar increase, as well as a dollar from licenses for unsterilized animals, will go into a trust fund. “It will help to assist lower income Blaine residents with the cost of spaying or neutering their pets,” Cistaro said.

In other business council approved a public works request to hire corrosion specialists to try to halt degradation of the city’s water tanks and the sewer pipeline under Drayton Harbor. ‘We have two different systems and both are underperforming,” said public works director Grant Stewart. He explained cathodic protection systems used a sacrificial metal that degrades more easily through oxidation to keep corrosion from attacking the metal walls of tanks and pipes. “It’s a way to protect metal you can’t replace with metal you can,” he said.

Under the proposed contract with Northwest Corrosion Engineering the firm would design and install corrosion protection systems for the city’s water tanks, which now have none. They would also test the cathodic protection system intalled on the iron water and sewer pipes under Drayton Harbor in 1996 for close to a million dollars, and find out why it isn’t working.

Mike Myers wondered why iron pipes had been laid in a marine setting in the first place. “There are metals that are more noble that wouldn’t degrade so quickly,” he said. “Yes. Like plastic,” Stewart agreed ruefully. “I wasn’t here when those decisions were made and what I want to do now is make it last. This is probably only the beginning for the pipes under the harbor.”

The $25,000 anticipated fee for corrosion protection covers design and installation for the water tanks but only analysis of the problem with the underwater pipes. Design and installation of a new system under the harbor would be additional.

“Do the people who designed the current system have any responsibility for it not working?” asked city manager Gary Tomsic. “The outcome of this study may help us understand their liability better,” Stewart said. “If the pipe underground is not electrically continuous it’s not their problem, it’s a construction problem.”.


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