New Port Richey creates own volunteer animal protection unit

Pasco officials don't think it's a good idea

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - New Port Richey's animal protection unit is now official after the city council signed the ordinance Tuesday night.

However, the decision goes against recommendations from Pasco County's animal services department.

New Port Richey officials say the $58,000 they were paying Pasco County Animal Services was just too much.

"That came to approximately $200 to $300 per animal and the majority of those animals were euthanized," said unit coordinator Sharon McReynolds.

So city leaders made the decision to cancel their contract with the county and start their own animal protection unit.  It will be run completely by volunteers.

It took three years to finally get it done.

"The city was thrilled that we could actually save them some money as well as improve the services," said McReynolds.

The whole plan had one major problem.

The city's facility, which will be at the police department, wasn't going to be ready in time, but the SPCA has stepped up and offered their help.

They will house the city's stray animals, but will not be involved in any other way.

"With the agreement with the SPCA and knowing that we won't have any effect on their operation, it's been a wonderful, wonderful partnership," said McReynolds.

Eventually, the animals will move to the city's kennel.

As for Pasco County's Animal Services, director John Malley said he did not recommend that New Port Richey break off on their own. He says an all-volunteer animal control agency is unheard of.

But he does wish them success, and will offer advice when possible.

The protection unit will start operating October 1.

For now, they will not be taking animal drop offs or handling adoptions.

They say euthanasia will only be used in cases of illness or aggressive behavior.

If you want to volunteer for the animal protection unit, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NewPortRicheyAnimalProtectionUnit?ref=ts

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