Springdale partners with LaVerkin Animal Shelter to house stray dogs

ST. GEORGE — The town of Springdale has entered into an agreement with the city of LaVerkin to house their stray dogs in the LaVerkin animal shelter. 

Springdale Town Council members voted unanimously to approve the interlocal agreement at their Sept. 4 town council meeting. 

Springdale Chief of Police Garen Brecke said that while the town has an animal shelter, which has been partially staffed by the Zion Animal Lovers, they don’t have the staff or the facilities to quarantine dogs, the building is dated and wearing out, and is in a fairly inaccessible location to the public. 

“There’s just a lot of challenges with the shelter itself. Zion Animal Lovers has helped us take care of animals … They have been a great assistance, but we just don’t have the staff to keep it going,” Brecke said. 

The one-year contract that the towns entered into will allow Springdale Police to transport dogs to the LaVerkin Animal Shelter to be cared for and adopted out. During that time, the town will decide whether they want to fix up their animal shelter or continue the agreement. 

A dog at the LaVerkin Animal Shelter, LaVerkin, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the LaVerkin Animal Shelter, St. George News

LaVerkin has the capacity to hold 10 animals at a time and are usually about half full, LaVerkin Chief of Police Benjamin Lee said. The contract allows the city to give priority to LaVerkin animals, and they will take on any additional animals as they have room, which is most of the time. 

LaVerkin has the same contractual agreement with Washington County and Toquerville as they now do with Springdale. Both the county and the towns pay LaVerkin a certain amount each year for their services, providing money for the shelter. Springdale has agreed to pay the city $6,000 a year. 

“What that’ll do is that’ll make sure that we’re able to maintain their animals, and that also in turn helps our shelter take care of its maintenance needs, its employees, as well as any other additional veterinary care — things of that nature,” Lee said. 

Springdale only sees an average of 12-15 stray dogs per year, which includes those found within Zion National Park and Rockville. Most of the owners of those dogs are repeat offenders within the town, something that police hope to reduce as a result of the new agreement. 

A dog, Koda, at the LaVerkin Animal Shelter, LaVerkin, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the LaVerkin Animal Shelter, St. George News

“Part of our goal is to not have repeat offenders. So if we get repeat offenders, they’ll be going to the shelter and then they’ll have to pay an impound fee,” Brecke said. 

Brecke said he hopes the distance and the fees will discourage people who have, in the past, let their dogs loose with disregard for the laws the town has against animals at large. 

Lee said the shelter’s current fees for animals coming from out of town include a $25 impound fee, plus an additional $20 per day. 

The agreement will also decrease the town’s liability in housing dogs on town property. 

“Our biggest thing is we want to educate … If they’re just running around in the street obviously there’s a liability for anybody that comes into contact with the dog, because nobody knows what the dog tendencies are or potential. And we don’t want the dog to get hit by a car or something,” he said. 

The agreement is currently in effect, and the Springdale and LaVerkin police departments are in the process of working out the details of how they will organize the partnership. 

“I’ve always been one who’s kind of tried to pioneer building these bridges between our cities and all these different agencies that we have over here on the east side of the county,” Lee said. “And it’s just been great being able to have that resource here in LaVerkin that we’re able to share with Toquerville and we’re able to share with the county and now with Springdale and Rockville and their citizens.”

A complete copy of the contract can be found on the Springdale Town website

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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