Letter: Raise contract just to break even

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The Humane Society for Southwest Washington has been negotiating with Clark County since 2010 to align fees with our actual cost of services for sheltering and care of stray animals. Our contract ends Dec. 31, 2013.

Like most businesses, HSSW has undertaken painful reductions since the recession began. Recently, we notified the Board of County Commissioners that HSSW needs a two-year contract with per-stray animal fees of $170 in 2014, and $200 in 2015 to break even on our services. Our fees cover only actual costs of care: medical/behavioral care; feeding/sheltering; reuniting animals with families; and adoption. These fees do not include administrative, fundraising or retail store expenses.

We have built a strong working relationship with Clark County over many years. HSSW wants to continue caring for strays because we are animal sheltering experts. It is good for animals and cost-effective for taxpayers. Our commitment to spaying and neutering practices continues to reduce stray admission numbers.

As chairman of the HSSW board, I know that we have a responsibility to the community, animals that live here and our valued donors. For some time, donors have underwritten the true cost of sheltering strays. Like other services the county contracts for, we believe sheltering services need to be paid in their entirety.

Tom Anderson

Ridgefield