OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) – Opelika City Leaders do expect to continue their relationship with the Lee County Humane Society.
Just a few weeks ago, the partnership was almost terminated after 20 plus years.
The change of heart came when Opelika Citizens urged city leaders to not end their contract with the lee County Humane society - for the welfare of the animals - and city leaders responded their citizens, met with the Humane Society and worked out an agreement.
Abandoned animals from Opelika will remain inside the Lee County Humane Society with the hopes of finding a new home.
"We are just delighted, we will be with them for another year at least, we are looking forward to strengthening our partnership and improving that partnership and expanding that partnership," Lee County Humane Society President Elizabeth Mueller said.
Mayor Gary Fuller sent an email on Tuesday saying:
"We'll stay with the LCHS with some changes in our agreement. I believe the Council will approve our recommendation."
The city was considering following Lee County's lead, and ending its contract with the humane society and using two Opelika vets to handle strays at a lower cost.
Lee County saves $30,000 yearly, but reports 73 percent of animals were euthanized at the two Opelika vets. At the Humane society, 81 percent animals are adopted, returned home or sent to no kill shelters.
"So as far as we are concerned, an animal that comes in is an adoptable animal they get their vaccines, they are de wormed, de flea and they continue to get their vaccines, we don't just hold them for seven days, we hold them a lot longer than that and adopt out."
Mueller says animals have a better chance of living at the Humane Society and Opelika Citizens urged the council to maintain the contract and city leaders listened.
"The city council and mayor responded, it was just marvelous to see local government in action the way you hope it would be."
The new contract means the Humane Society will not lose $80,000 from its budget. Mueller says if the contract had been terminated, it would have been a devastating financial blow to the Humane Society and its animals.
She says the humane society can and now will do a much better job of communicating with Auburn and Opelika, and concerns city leaders may have will be addressed quickly.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller says it's possible the city will work with the two Opelika vets to handle overflow animals, if the Humane Society reaches capacity.