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Mississippi Critterz Awarded Control of Animal Shelter, Animal Control Services

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Oxford and Lafayette County’s four-legged misplaced residents will soon have a new group to help find them their forever homes.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday during a special meeting to award animal control services and control over the animal shelter on McElroy Drive to Mississippi Critterz.

City officials learned last month that the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society will not be renewing its contract with the city to provide animal control services or run the shelter on McElroy Drive as of Sept. 30.

The city advertised for request for proposals earlier this month and formed a committee to review those RFPs. Only two RFPs were received from Critterz and Mississippi Humane, a group led by former shelter manager Angela Avery.

“Both proposals, as far as animal care went, were great,” said Aldermen Janice Antonow, who served on the committee. “Both have experience or have people with experience in fundraising.”

Antonow said Critterz, led by Gail Brown, who volunteered at the OLHS for 10 years, submitted a budget the city “can work with.” In the budget, Critterz stated they would ask the city to provide $62,968 a year and Lafayette County for $92,839 a year since the shelter takes in more animals from the county than the city.

In recent years, the county has provided about $25,000 a year to the shelter. Antonow said the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors were hesitant to contribute more because the shelter was taking in almost as many animals from other surrounding counties as they took in from Oxford and Lafayette County and expects the Supervisors to be more willing to contribute more moving forward. Supervisor David Rikard also served on the committee to review the RFPs.

“We are not going to do that anymore so there will be about half as many animals coming in,” she said. “That’s over. It’s time for those other counties to step up and take care of their own animals.”

The shelter took in about 3,800 dogs and cats a year with 2,000 being from Oxford and Lafayette County.

Humane’s budget called for a contribution from the city to be $178,000 a year and $140,000 from the county. They expected to raise $260,000 from solicited donations and $120,000 from special events.

The city currently has $130,000 budgeted for animal control services and the shelter.

However, they also wanted the city to pay $70,000 to finish an incomplete building at the shelter.

“We don’t have that chunk of money to do that right now,” Antonow said.

After Humane learned the city would not be able to meet their financial conditions, they withdrew its RFP. 

Critterz officially formed in April with a mission to provide temporary shelter to stray, abandoned and surrendered animals for the purpose of finding forever homes through adoptions. Since the organization did not own a shelter, the animals were placed in foster care until a home was found.

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