WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita is taking applications for someone new to run the Wichita Animal Shelter. The shelter came under fire recently after 12 dogs were accidentally euthanized.
The Wichita Police Department has been managing the shelter. It apologized for the incident and said policies were not followed.
At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Brandon Whipple said the city is looking for qualified vendors to take over the shelter.
“Our goal is to hire an operator for the first quarter of next year,” he said. “Shifting shelter operations to professional management has been a conversation among our Wichita Police Department, the city manager’s office and, of course, the council for some time.”
He said having professional management will allow the WPD to focus on picking up strays, sick and injured animals, and dead animals. Police would still handle animal bites, animal cruelty, and neglect investigations.
Beauties and Beasts Board Member Kasey Breidenthal says their animal rescue removed themselves from the partnership.
“When we left back in June, the Euthanasia rate was at 6%. We’re now well over 30%, well over 25 no-kill rate, and that’s not acceptable at all,” said Breidenthal.
She says they are submitting a proposal but are confident this is the right move to take management responsibilities from the police.
“We would like to see a unified front, and that’s just not happening currently,” said Breidenthal.
They believe the change will be something that ultimately benefits the animals.
“We like animal control. They can do a lot of good. They should be out in the city helping the community, getting stray dogs off the street, handling bites, and things like that,” said Breidenthal.
The city is taking applications for a qualified vendor through Nov. 3. Learn more and apply here. There will also be an informational meeting for potential applicants at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, at City Hall, 455 N. Main, on the 12th floor. Applicants can join it virtually by clicking here.
“An ideal applicant has the experience with shelter management and operating under capacity for care of management,” Whipple said.
He said the city wants the new operator also to improve communications with rescue partners to find homes for abandoned pets and provide veterinarian care.
“In our last two city budgets, we have increased staffing for the animal shelter, but that is not enough,” Whipple said. “We need shelter management to help so our animal control officers can be outside the shelter dealing with the safety concerns throughout our city.”
KSN News asked what the city is doing until a new vendor is hired in light of the recent accidental euthanizing of the dogs.
“We are increasing oversight of the practices over at the shelter since it came to our attention that there was some issues,” Whipple said. “However, we’ve also made other investments even before then when it comes to folks who are interested in helping us take care of the animals.”
“But again, as we move forward, we are looking to change the path or somewhat of the structure of how we’ve been working with the shelter, take it a little less under the umbrella of our WPD, which also frees up some more of our officers and bringing in, you know, people who have more experience working with different shelters, different rescue organizations,” he said. “Again, it’s a collaborative effort not just with the nonprofits but also with the Humane Society and our rescues and our police department.”