Following a Tuesday investigation into animal neglect at the Holts Summit kennel facility and an arrest of a city employee, the Holts Summit Board of Aldermen voted to approve an agreement with Fulton for use of the Grabb Animal Shelter.
The Fulton City Council also will need to approve the deal before it becomes official, likely holding a vote July 24 or at the following meeting, but animals from Holts Summit have been transported to Fulton as part of an emergency arrangement in the meantime.
On Tuesday, the Holts Summit animal control office reported to the city's kennel facility to find poor conditions for some of the impounded animals, according to a news release from Holts Summit. City Administrator Matt Harline said following an investigation, the city employee responsible for caring for the animals was fired and arrested.
The private owner, which Holts Summit rented the kennel from, had no part in the neglect, Harline added.
City officials did not identify the employee.
Police Chief Kyle McIntyre said no charges have been filed yet, as the city prosecutor will look over the case first.
McIntrye said the city took action as soon as it discovered the neglect, which included a lack of food and water. No animal needed veterinary care. The primary animals affected were cats, McIntyre added, which were kept in a separate room at the kennel.
Harline said the city quickly worked to reach the emergency arrangement with Fulton, adding it was a priority for Holts Summit to care for its impounded animals, and "we needed to take action quickly."
"No animals were tremendously dehydrated; no animals' lives were in danger," Harline said. "It just wasn't up to the standard that we expected."
He said Holts Summit will pay Fulton $500 a week as part of the emergency arrangement, which is similar to the cost it took to run the kennel.
Building its own animal shelter is Holts Summit's long-term goal, but the project is in its early stages and the owner of the kennel is retiring soon. The non-emergency agreement passed by the aldermen Thursday would give Holts Summit a facility to take impounded animals to in the meantime, if also passed by Fulton.
Harline said the hope is for Fulton's City Council to also pass the agreement at its July 24 meeting and for the cities to transition from the emergency arrangement by the beginning of August.
The agreement would run through July 31, 2020, and entails Holts Summit paying $2,000 a month for the service. Either city could opt out of the contract at anytime with 90 days' written notice.
Details of the agreement include Holts Summit being responsible for transporting impounded animals to Fulton and the shelter having "final say in the disposition of all animals received." To claim impounded animals, owners would need to show complete proof of ownership and pay impound fees of $40 for the first day and $25 for each additional day. After a seven-day hold period, shelter staff will decide if an animal will "be placed for adoption or humanely euthanized."
Harline said any facility built by Holts Summit would be kept small to fit the city's needs. A more permanent agreement with Fulton could be explored to handle any overflow of animals once a new shelter is built, he added.
Holts Summit's aldermen passed several other ordinances and a resolution Thursday, including the official appointment of Anji Gandhi as assistant city prosecutor. The ordinance to appoint Gandhi had a first reading during a meeting in June.
Thursday's meeting also contained the passing of a special use permit for a Benefit for Carl DeBrodie event Aug. 11 at Greenway Park, an authorization for smoke testing of sanitary sewer lines, an update to the city's potential conflict of interest disclosure procedure, an acceptance of sanitary sewers in the Serenity Subdivision, the matching of funds for a STOP Violence Against Women grant, and a permit for a fireworks display.