Fond du Lac Humane Society Statement March 1, 2023
Fond du Lac Humane Society Statement dated March 1, 2023
We would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has contacted us to express their support. We
appreciate you more than you could ever know. Our mission is and always has been to act in the best
interests of the animals, and that mission will continue.
We love the Fond du Lac community and sincerely wanted to partner with the City of Fond du Lac to care
for its animals. We continued to do that, as best we could, despite the fact that the City only contributed to
less than 20% of our actual expenses when 84% of our animals were from the City. We are a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization that does not receive any state or federal funding. Only 17.5% of our revenue
came from the City contract, while 73% of our revenue came from donations, bequests and fundraising.
That meant that we had to request more monetary donations, fundraise more and more frequently request
donations of items like kitten milk replacer, paper towels and food in order to subsidize the majority of
In the summer of 2022, the City Attorney cited us for refusing to pick up, after hours, bite quarantines on
two occasions. On both occasions, the owner was available and our Shelter Manager offered to meet the
owner at our facility. Under Wisconsin law, if an animal bites someone and is not up-to-date on its rabies
vaccination, it is the owner’s responsibility to bring the animal to an isolation facility and pay for all
related fees. Our shelter policy is that those fees must be prepaid before we will accept an animal. Having
the owner bring the animal to the shelter is important so the animal can safely be placed in a kennel. This
is a non-negotiable safety issue for our staff. We require pre-payment because, by law, the animal has to
receive three mandatory rabies checks by a licensed veterinarian, and its rabies vaccination on the 10 th
day. We do not have a veterinarian on staff and have to pay for those rabies checks, as well as the rabies
vaccination. Unfortunately, we have had too many occasions where owners refuse to pay after we have
already incurred those expenses. Also, of note, is that a bite quarantine requires two kennels, with a
guillotine door, so the animal can be safely fed and cared for during the quarantine period. We are limited
by the State of Wisconsin as to the number of dogs we can accept. When our kennels are full, they are
The citations led to discussions and meetings with the City of Fond du Lac to discuss bite quarantines and
other safety and monetary issues. For example, we employed staff to be available 24/7, 365 days a year to
provide on-demand service. As with other businesses, it became impossible to find individuals willing to
staff this position and we were unable to pay a competitive wage. In addition, some people abused this
service. We have been called out in a snow storm to pick up a deceased cat or, after individuals have fed a
cat for over a week, called in the middle of the night to have it picked up. We have been called into
situations where our staff’s safety was at risk. All of these discussions and increasing challenges caused
us to review the contract and, as required under the contract, we submitted a proposed revision prior to the
November 1, 2022, deadline. Note that the contract was set to expire on December 31, 2022.
We did not receive a response from the City until December 13 th – six weeks later. We continued
negotiating in good faith, timely provided all requested information, met with the City to explain the
reasoning behind some of the requested changes, and provided statistics to support our request for an
increase in price. We continued to provide City services without a contract in place. Note that the contract
had increased only 1% each year. The contract price we requested for 2023 ($175,000), had the City only
paying 26.7% of our actual City-related costs versus 17.8% the City offered ($116,960). Ten years ago,
the City paid $102,798 for animal control services. An increase of only $14,162 in 10 years does not
adequately take into account the current economic conditions, the increased volume of animals and other
After additional communications and meetings, we had an in-person meeting with the City Attorney at
which we agreed to the original price the City offered – $116,960 – and, we understood that we had
reached an agreement on the three remaining issues: bite quarantines, 24/7, 365 on-demand and capacity
limitations. With respect to bite quarantines, we agreed to take bite quarantines if we had available space
and the owner brought the animal to the shelter and pre-paid the fees. With respect to 24/7, 365 on-
demand service, we agreed to provide police officers access to our 24-hour lobby during hours we are not
open and, assuming kennels are available, they would be able to leave the animal in the kennel. With
respect to capacity limitations, we are only able to hold as many dogs as we are allowed by the Wisconsin
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Once dog kennels are full, we are unable to
accept any additional dogs and other arrangements would need to be made. With respect to cats, we are
able to house cats above our capacity in temporary kennels, but certain protocols need to be followed.
Despite our belief that we had reached an agreement and the City Attorney indicated she would make
those changes and email the revised version, we did not hear from her for nine days and, in the meantime,
we were advised the City was contacting other shelters and rescues to contract for services.
After more than a week had gone by with no revised contract, we took it upon ourselves to revise the
contract previously submitted by the City with the revisions we understood had been agreed to and
submitted it to the City. We had been negotiating in good faith for over 4 months, were continuing to
provide services without a contract, and had had enough. We submitted the revised contract and gave the
City a deadline to accept, again, what we believed had been agreed upon. The City did not respond and,
therefore, we discontinued providing City services. It was not what we wanted to do and it was not a
decision we made lightly, but we felt the City left us with no choice.
We reached out to the City and have continued communications and negotiations. Unfortunately, the City
came back with an entirely different contract, withdrawing its originally agreed-upon number of $116,960
and, instead, offering to pay $50 per cat and $100 per dog. Based on 2022 numbers, this would reduce the
original contract price by over 50%! In addition, the City did not want to include feral cats despite this
being, in our view, a City responsibility, and the City wanted us to take on licensing responsibilities. We
have submitted a revised proposal and are waiting for a response.
There are some facts that we think it is important for everyone to know. These statistics are based on 2022
numbers. First, only 6.4% of our revenue comes from adoptions. We try to keep our adoption fees as low
as possible because we want more than anything to place these animals in forever homes. Only 1.4% of
our funding came from reclaim fees. Again, we want the animals reclaimed and we charge a very low fee
to facilitate reclaims. The majority of our funding – 73.3% – comes from donations, bequests and
fundraising. It takes money to run a shelter and care for animals 365 days a year. Staffing and animal care
costs alone are 63% of our expenses. Animal care cost numbers would be even higher if we did not have
our wonderful community so generously donating food and supplies.
Second, in 2022, of the 977 animals we took in, 823 were from the City of Fond du Lac. Of those 823
animals, 725 (84.2%) were strays. Only 17.1% of animals were reclaimed. The average length of stay was
39.3 days for a dog and 58.7 days for a cat. Our average cost per animal is $659.30.
Third, we never requested or expected that the City would pay for 100% of our associated animal and
operating costs. The City is responsible for animal control and, as such, it should pay for a reasonable
portion of those costs. Our request to the City was for only 26.7% of the actual costs. One could argue
50% would be more reasonable, but we did not even request that. We realize that our mission is much
more than what the City is required to provide and we are able to do that through the generous donations
of our supporters.
Fourth, we do not believe the City can exclude feral cats from any contract we are willing to sign. The
truth is that the City has a feral cat problem. It needs to be dealt with somehow. We are trying to do our
part by spaying and neutering as many cats as we can – costs we incur monthly. We cannot keep up with
the cat over population. There are only so many spots available for spays and neuters. Additionally, we
have not seen a break in kitten season this past year. It is overwhelming. Many people have asked about a
Trap-Neuter-Return program, a method of humanely controlling community/feral cat populations, where
the cat is sterilized, vaccinated and receives an ear tip, and if socialized, can be adopted into homes, but
otherwise is returned to its original location. It is our understanding that the City does not allow TNR.
Therefore, we all need to work together to help control the cat populations.
Fifth, we understand people are upset by our silence on this matter. It is our policy not to engage in social
media debates, and we felt it was most professional not to discuss contract details while negotiations were
ongoing. It has come to our attention that City officials have been discussing contract details and,
therefore, we decided to provide this information. We hope it provides some insight and background as to
how we got to this point.
Finally, our number one priority is, always has been, and will continue to be the animals. We have to
ensure their safety, as well as the safety of our staff. We will continue our mission regardless of the
outcome of our negotiations with the City, although our sincere hope is that we can come to an agreement
with the City to continue to provide services to the Fond du Lac community. There are so many animals
that need humane care, treatment and protection. We appreciate and are so grateful for your continued
support. THANK YOU!