WAUSAU, Wis (WSAU) - Marathon County officials took their first look at expanding the county's animal control program Monday night.
The task force is hoping to get more input and possible funding on how the county's current program runs. Marathon County currently contracts with the Humane Society to provide an animal control officer to the unincorporated areas. The humane society is ending their contract with the rest of the county municipalities soon due to staffing and funding issues.
Director Mary Kirlin told the group that the MCHS had been asked to provide services that they can no longer afford and were not able to actually provide under current county protocols. With only one officer on staff, Kirlin says splitting that time between the society and the officer duties is unmanageable.
Wausau alderman Keene Winters says that the municipalities need an overall contract that would lay out what the officer is and is not able to do, and who will be paying for each of those calls. He also said that more officers and better enforcement of the county's existing animal registration laws could help fund not only the humane society but all of the budget for new officers. "Full compliance could be $500,000 extra dollars coming to the county."
Wausau, Weston and Rib Mountain officials are all looking at improving efforts to get pets registered by offering online registration. Wausau city council president Lisa Rasmussen says officials are hoping to be able to get the process started soon. "We've approved it at public safety, and that measure will move on to the finance committee to look at funding."
Task force chair and county supervisor Jean Maszk says the county will keep taking more input and hopefully reach a consensus by the time budgets are due. "We'll be meeting every two weeks up until budget time to try and work this out."
The next meeting is set for October 1st.