By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — The city of Jeffersonville has terminated an agreement with Louisville-based nonprofit animal organization No Kill Louisville.
In August 2012, the city announced that its J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter had entered into an agreement with the organization with the goal of becoming a no-kill shelter within one year. But the city decided to terminate the partnership three months early after a disagreement on how to implement the no-kill policies.
According to the agreement signed in August, in order for the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter to become a no-kill facility, the nonprofit organization would “work to help promote a shelter environment that allows a no-kill model to flourish; provide additional support for Jeffersonville and the surrounding community’s pet owners; and create a proactive partnership that will work to increase adoptions; increase the number of foster homes [for pets]; provide volunteer support for the shelter staff; and increase spay/neuter efforts.”
At the time the partnership was formed, the purpose for the city entering into the agreement was to be able to access No Kill Louisville’s fundraising capabilities, have access to its volunteers and also access its pet-fostering network. The fostering program allows the shelter to temporarily place pets into homes while they wait for adoption, which frees up space inside the shelter to house animals.
There was no monetary agreement in the contract aside from a stipulation that would require written consent if both parties entered into a deal that would exceed $400.
“When we entered into the agreement it was quite clear that we were going to enter into an agreement that we could get out of anytime that we felt it was not in the best interest of the animal shelter and the city of Jeffersonville,” said City Attorney Les Merkley at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting. “It’s been determined ... it would be in the best interest of the city and everyone involved that we withdrawl from that partnership.”
The board of public works was also the same board that entered into the agreement with No Kill Louisville.
The only other requirement the city must meet is that it provide 60 days notice of the termination of the partnership. With the notice, the partnership between the two entities will terminate May 19. The agreement was originally scheduled to last only a year and end Aug. 18.
Eli Haynes, interim president of No Kill Louisville, said the decision was really not discussed with No Kill Louisville prior to its termination.
He said the agreement ended because a volunteer had made suggestions to the shelter to support the no-kill goal, such as hosting volunteer orientations and changing the shelter’s hours of operations, that the shelter has not put in place yet. Haynes added that there have been other suggestions that J.B. Ogle has already implemented.
The volunteer, Jessica Reid, was the former president of No Kill Louisville, but resigned from her post at the end of 2012 and has subsequently resigned as a volunteer for the nonprofit. The disagreement effectively severed the formal partnership.
Despite ending the legal partnership between the two entities, both Haynes and J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter Director Sarah Green said they hoped to continue working with one another.
“We are confident that they will go no-kill by August,” Haynes said of the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter. “We fully support them and we hope that we will be able to maintain a relationship with them.”
Green also offered a desire to continue working with the nonprofit organization and to make J.B. Ogle a no-kill animal shelter.
“While we are still committed to making our shelter a no-kill facility, we believe we can better achieve that result on our own,” Green said in a press release. “We want to do what’s best for the city and more importantly, the animals. We believe the partnership wasn’t the right fit for our operation.”
“It doesn’t mean we can’t work together ... but as far as a legal partnership, that ended,” she said earlier in the day.
Green added that the shelter is already meeting the no-kill standards for dogs — where euthanasia is at 10 percent or less at the facility — and the shelter will be working to meet the standard for adoptable cats. However, she said it is unlikely the animal shelter will be able to meet the no-kill standards for feral cat populations, which requires capturing, sterilizing and releasing the animals.