Watertown's "Plan B" for Dog Control Services

Watertown's "Plan B" for Dog Control Services

Posted: Updated: Jan 02, 2019 06:20 AM

The city of Watertown has a “plan B” in place if it's dog control negotiations with Jefferson County fall through.

The deadline for the city of Watertown to sign onto Jefferson County's dog control program has passed, but the two sides are continuing talks. The main sticking point? The city wants the option to get out of the contract by next June if it finds a better deal, but the county will not go forward with the plan unless the fourteen other towns that have signed on agree to leave at the same time.

“The way it is right now, we give six months notice and we would have to convince every other town to leave the program and join the city,” said Watertown City Council member Cody Horbacz. “So one town could keep the city from pursuing a more cost effective program."

As negotiations continue, Watertown has come up with a contingency plan. It could hire the Town of Wilna's dog control officer as an independent contractor.

Watertown City Manager Rick Finn is expected to meet this week with County Administrator Bob Hagemann to discuss the state of dog control, but the Jefferson County legislature chairman Scott Gray thinks the meeting is unlikely to result in anything.

"I am not entirely optimistic that we will come to an agreement with the city. Hopefully we will, though, for the sake of the program," Gray said.

The county is charging the city $145,000 annually for dog control, which averages around about $1,300 per dog and city leaders feel the cost is too high and should range from about $100-$200 per dog.

"We have justified our cost to them and to think that they can do this service for considerably less than that, as they are portraying, I think they seriously underestimate the dog control service in its totality," Gray said.

Correction: The story previously said the county is charging the city $155,000 a year. The amount is actually $145,000.


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