OLEAN, N.Y. -- Olean's animal control contract with the shelter expired last year, leaving the two to operate month to month. City leaders say funding was reduced because the shelter stopped providing certain services, like picking up feral cats and conducting cruelty investigations.
Shelter leaders say the contract never included feral cats, only strays, and had to cut back on costly investigations until the funding was in place. The group is now looking for alternatives, and says the funding made up 20 percent of its budget, as 70 percent of the animals are from the city.
"That's really not a good equation for any business. And we are barebones here, we're not anything fancy," said Tammy Samborski, SPCA board member. "It was heart-breaking to all of us, because we're here for the animals, but also the community. And the services that we provide are all encompassing."
"So we had to really tighten our belt and cut out some things. It's going to be a little bit of a culture change here in the city and we'll just have to more on from there," said William Aiello, (R) Olean mayor. "It's very difficult because I think our citizens have become accustomed to making a call. There's a stray dog, there's a stray cat and getting services and now that's not going to be there anymore."
Samborski and Aiello remain hopeful they can work out a new agreement and renew the partnership. Both sides are set to meet in the coming days.