- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - The director of the Hutchinson Animal Shelter has requested money to hire more employees so that the shelter can either stop relying on volunteer help from local prison inmates or can properly supervise the inmates’ work.

Richard Havens, the city’s director of animal services, told city council members who toured the shelter last week that he would like six new employees. It’s unlikely the request will be fully granted after council members noted other city departments also need more money and employees, and one councilwoman questioned the shelter’s $367,000 city subsidy, The Hutchinson News reported (https://bit.ly/1Gpfoep ).

Havens said he doesn’t know how many Hutchinson Correctional Facility inmates will be brought to the shelter on any given day and that no prison personnel stay to supervise them. He has closed 16 kennels because it’s impossible to ensure they will be cleaned daily, he said.

Problems have arisen with inmates making sexually suggestive remarks toward women at the shelter or arguing with shelter staff. He said female staff members have taken self-defense training and asked for pepper spray. Contraband left for the inmates has been found at the shelter, which doesn’t have enough staff to monitor its 26 security cameras, Havens said.

“We just don’t have enough staff to keep an eye on them,” he said. “I’d rather have staff do everything, with no inmates.”

Besides Havens, the shelter has four technicians and three animal control officers. The officers are paid through the police department.

City Manager John Deardoff said he has a proposal to hire three more part-time employees for the shelter at a cost of $28,000 to $35,000.

“I think our partnership with the prison is good,” Deardoff said. “Can we improve upon it and address the concerns of staff? I think we can. It may be a situation where the part-time help would work alongside the inmate help.”

The shelter’s budget for 2015 is $456,000, but it takes in only about $80,000 annually from dog licenses, adoption fees and other fees. The city provides the difference with $376,000 from the general fund.


Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com

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