A potential agreement is in the early stages between Holts Summit and Summit Veterinary Services to provide an animal shelter for use by the city's Animal Control Department.
Holts Summit has drafted a preliminary contract that has not yet been presented to the local veterinary hospital, Police Chief Kyle McIntyre said, but the arrangement likely would be the "most financially correct" option for the city.
Holts Summit already contracts with Summit Veterinary Services to provide veterinary care.
The potential agreement was first discussed publicly during Holts Summit's Board of Aldermen meeting in January. Acting City Administrator Hanna Lechner told the aldermen the owner of Summit Veterinary Services, veterinarian Dean Bates, had given Holts Summit a diagram of a building with a portion that could be dedicated to an animal shelter.
The aldermen did not take any action on the matter during January's meeting, giving city officials permission to continue working toward an agreement. Lechner said Holts Summit would pay rent for the service, but the city has not specified an amount yet.
"The plan would be, if we're willing to do this, (Bates) would build that additional space and then his staff would feed the animals, walk the animals, clean the pens, do all of that," McIntyre said during the meeting. "So we would not have to hire additional personnel to handle that."
Summit Veterinary Service has plans for a new clinic building with boarding facilities this year, according to its website.
Bates could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The veterinary hospital also provided shelter services when Holts Summit first started its animal control program, McIntyre said, but it "didn't work out for some of his employees at that time." Staffing has changed since, he added.
Animals brought in by Holts Summit Animal Control currently are being taken to Fulton's Grabb Animal Shelter. The two cities formed an emergency agreement, which later turned into a year-long contract, after a July investigation into animal neglect at the kennel facility formerly used by Holts Summit.
McIntyre said Holts Summit loses custody of animals it takes to the Grabb Animal Shelter, preventing the city from recouping some of its costs through adoption fees. Transporting animals to Fulton also presents a logistical burden, he added.
Holts Summit has considered building its own animal shelter, but McIntyre said the cost of construction and personnel would be around $250,000.
Mayor Landon Oxley said during the January meeting the city had explored other options, but shelters in Jefferson City and Ashland were too full to partner.
"There's been times when we couldn't take animals to Fulton because they were full, even though we're paying them," McIntyre said.