BOC delays decision on third-party operator for animal shelter

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – The Kalkaska County Animal Shelter will remain a county-operated agency, at least for now.

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners had been discussing contracting with a third-party to oversee the local animal shelter, an issue brought to the board by Sheriff Patrick Whiteford.

The discussions led the board to request that Whiteford seek a “request for proposals” from area veterinarian offices to contract for animal shelter services, with the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office maintaining its lone animal control officer position for enforcement purposes.

But, rather than choose a winning proposal at its Aug. 15 meeting, District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon, chairman of the county board, said commissioners were instead forced to put any plans on hold until after the Nov. 6 general election.

McKinnon said no new proposals were submitted prior to the Aug. 8 deadline, leaving only an original proposal by Dr. Leigh Lewis of the Kalkaska Animal Hospital as the lone submittal under consideration.

Ironically, however, commissioners could not act on Lewis’ proposal because she could soon be a commissioner herself. Lewis topped McKinnon, 273-198, in the Aug. 7 Republican primary and now faces Democrat Fred Vonalt in the general election to see who will represent Coldsprings and Rapid River townships.

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