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More funds sought to deal with abandoned pets

Posted by Leslie Anderson  March 9, 2009 08:47 AM

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By Chantal Mendes, Globe Correspondent

Waltham Police Chief Thomas Lacroix is asking the City Council to appropriate another $5,000 toward housing the soaring number of stray cats and dogs in the city. The money would go to the Natick Animal Clinic, which boards strays from Waltham until they are adopted or euthanized.

The request for additional funds for animal control will be discussed at the Waltham City Council meeting Monday night.

In a letter to the mayor, Lacroix said he has seen more abandoned animals during the first half of this fiscal year than in the entire previous year.

Lacroix said in an interview that in prior years animals were only held a few days before owners recovered them, but this year things are different.

‘‘People are unfortunately abandoning their animals,’’ he said. He said the animals they find don’t have any identification on them, unlike lost pets that usually have tags.

‘‘It’s sad, and we do what we have to do,’’ he said.

City Council member Ed Tarallo said the rise in strays apparently results from people being unable to afford to care for their pets given the current economic crisis.

‘‘It’s related to the economy,’’ Tarallo said.

The shelter is mandated by law to keep the animals for 10 days before they adopt them out or euthanize them. Boarding the animals is expensive and has drained the budget a lot faster than usual.

‘‘Generally we don’t overexpend this account, certainly not within the first six months of the year,’’ said Tarallo.

The Waltham animal shelter on Fenton Street was shut down years ago when the City Council decided it would be more cost-effective to subcontract, said Finance Committee chairman David Marcou Jr. This is the first time Marcou can remember there being a request for additional funds.

City Council member Robert Logan said the request will be introduced to the council on Monday, and then will probably referred to the Finance Committee, which will discuss the appropriation of funds the following Monday. The issue will then go back to the full board to be discussed by the entire council.

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