Council increases animal shelter funding

Homer Animal Services LLC, also known in town as Alaska Mindful Paws, will receive additional funding from the city in order to cover continuing operations.

The city council passed Resolution 23-062(A) during its last regular meeting on Monday, June 26, approving a contract amendment with Homer Animal Services LLC that integrates a budgeted increase for Animal Shelter operations and animal control services for the first half of the 2024 fiscal year, which began July 1.

The FY24/25 operating budget put together by city council, commissions and staff, which was also adopted on June 26 via Ordinance 23-20(A), includes a $91,293-per-year increase in funding for the Animal Shelter, according to Resolution 23-062(A).

However, the city’s contract with Homer Animal Services LLC is set to expire on Dec. 31.

As such, Resolution 23-062(A) bestows half of the per-year increase in the amount of $45,646.50 to Homer Animal Services LLC for the period running from July 1 to Dec. 31 in order to cover operating costs for the remainder of its current contract.

The animal shelter contract will be going out to bid in the first half of the 2023 fiscal year.

The city’s current contract with Homer Animal Services LLC was signed in November 2016, and extended and modified since then to help the shelter’s operator keep up with the changes in demand and the high levels of inflation that have hit animal services particularly hard, a June 14 backup memorandum to Resolution 23-062(A) states.

The shelter continues to see increased demand for its services, particularly recently with the impact of multiple Virginia opossums present in Homer.

“I just wanted to say thank you for everyone’s support,” Animal Shelter Director Jillian Rogers told the council during the public comments session at the beginning of Monday’s meeting.

Rogers noted that the shelter has experienced an influx of animals with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s efforts to trap any remaining opossums in the area. Local cats that have inadvertently been trapped are being brought to the shelter until their owners can retrieve them. The shelter also recently took in a number of dogs that needed fostering after the Homer Police Department and Alaska State Troopers conducted drug seizures at two Homer residences on June 24.

“So we’re pretty full,” Rogers told the council. “But I’m glad to be a part of the community. Thank you again for your support.”