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story.lead_photo.caption The kennels at the Centerton Animal Shelter. The shelter has 18 kennels, but is in the process of expanding to 60 with additional dog runs outside, Mayor Bill Edwards said.

BENTONVILLE -- The city council approved an animal services contract with Centerton to the dismay of a group of animal advocates concerned about the standard of care at the Centerton facility.

Olivia Nagel, founder of Crystal Creek Rescue, said the contract before the council Tuesday was worse than the one it voted down at its Jan. 9 meeting.

Council action

Bentonville City Council met Tuesday and approved the following:

• To set a public hearing for a utility easement vacation request in the Straube Business Park Subdivision for Feb. 13.

• To set a public hearing for a utility easement vacation request at 6302 S.W. Heritage Ave. for Feb. 13.

• To add two sworn police officer positions not included in the 2018 budget.

Source: Staff report

A group of citizens met with several city council members Jan. 12 to have some of their concerns addressed in the contract. Some items discussed were the need to have an isolation room to prevent disease outbreaks and the need for controlled heating and air conditioning.

"The things we asked for in the meeting with you last week weren't addressed," Nagel said.

Sara McGuigan, board member of Crystal Creek Rescue, asked how a group working with council members is supposed to address the concerns of citizens. There was great discussion, and citizens knew everything probably wouldn't be addressed but were hopeful that some things would be.

"There's no difference than there was two weeks ago," she said.

The Council approved 7-0 a contract that had the same terms as the one it considered Jan. 9 -- Bentonville will pay Centerton a base fee of $300,000 for a three-year contract as well as $100 per animal transported to the shelter.

A procedural addendum was included in Tuesday's documents that outlined how dogs were picked up, processed and reclaimed. The contract will be effective May 1.

The city doesn't have an animal shelter so it has been taking lost and stray dogs to the Rogers shelter since 2007. Its $72,000 annual contract with Rogers expires Feb. 1. There is also a $95 fee per animal taken to the Rogers shelter.

Council members told the citizens Tuesday that their concerns have been heard and believe that the Centerton facility will provide adequate care for the time being.

Centerton is in the process of expanding its shelter from 18 to 73 kennels. The project is expected to be completed by May.

Bill Burckart, council member, said he's been in constant communication with Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards and employees at the shelter. He said it's no problem to have the temperature maintained between 60 and 80 degrees.

There also will be an isolation area for sick animals, Burckart said, adding that work still needs to be done on making the intake process smoother.

Tim Robinson, council member, said he visited the facility Tuesday morning and that the employees have good intentions.

It's important to work together moving forward, he said.

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A resolution will be brought to the council expressing the intention of forming a committee that will include interested citizens to find more, better and long-term solutions to Bentonville's animal services issues, said Stephanie Orman, council member.

"This is not the end stage," Burckart said. "This is only the beginning."

Mayor Bob McCaslin said he's appreciative of the cooperative relationship with Centerton.

"I think we're entering into a relationship that will be far more impressive than it will be concerning," he said.

City officials are working with various animal clinics to help house the stray and lost dogs for the three months between when the contract with Rogers ends and one with Centerton begins.

NW News on 01/24/2018

Print Headline: Centerton shelter to house Bentonville dogs

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