CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - It's your money and Charlotte County Commissioners say they are trying to save it by cutting costs and sending stray dogs and cats to a shelter in Desoto County.
For decades, the Animal Welfare League has held the contract but as Kristen Skovira reports that could soon change.
"There's really very few people who claim them. In fact less than 1% are claimed every year. That's what really started the debate you hear today," said Brian Jones with Charlotte County Animal Control.
Year after year thousands of stray cats and dogs are taken off the streets of Charlotte County and taken in by the Animal Welfare League.
"Out of the decades long contract agreement that we had with the Animal Welfare League we've seen our averages go down recently because of policy change that we made in regards to picking up of stray cats," said Jones.
"What they in essence have done over the past 12-months is leave 1,300 cats on the streets of Charlotte County," said David Baird with the AWL.
Charlotte County spends your money for their services.
"$200,000 a year. Last year the actual was $160,000 so you can see those numbers have a tendency to fluctuate and then of course the awl wanted the fixed rate which was higher than what we are used to paying," said Jones.
A fixed rate of about $23,000 a month. A cost the county says is just too high.
"Great services for the animals of the county which is what our chief concern is but also a financial bargain," said Baird.
Baird insists sending strays to the shelter in Arcadia is the wrong move and it's the animals who will pay the price. "From the animals standpoint their potential to be adopted if someone has to take a 60-mile trip to just look is really significantly reduced," he said.
Charlotte County Commissioners say they are looking at all possible options and will hear from both sides on July 23rd.