Gary is addressing problems with its animal control system by reaching out to a nonprofit that specializes in assessing animal shelters. It's a good response to criticism.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the city hopes to partner with a nonprofit to renovate a Gary Animal Control facility for animals that need to be quarantined.
Animal Resue Corps, a nonprofit that specializes in assessing animal shelters, will evaluate Gary's operations next month. The team will then recommend how a separate nonprofit, the Bissell Pet Foundation, could help the city.
Gary lacks the financial wherewithal to build or renovate an animal control facility.
"Our first priority is to provide a safe and sanitary location for these animals to dwell until rescued," Freeman-Wilson said. "Ideally, we want to keep these vital services here in our community. A city of Gary's size and population deserves it."
If Gary decided to get out of the animal control business and let Lake County Animal Control take over, the county wouldn't be able to handle the number of animals Gary impounds on a daily basis, the mayor said. That would be shifting the problem rather than fixing it.
Gary's problem seems similar to what Porter County faces. Each needs a new animal control facility, and each has expressed interest in working with nonprofits to address operations or a new facility.
Porter County is still considering a $1.5 million request from the commissioners in April to build a new facility. That money would come from interest on the proceeds from the 2007 sale of Porter Hospital.
Complaints about Porter County's facility have been greatly reduced under new management, but the opportunity to work with a nonprofit remains.
Investigate outsourcing operations to a nonprofit that could operate the animal shelter so the local government can focus on other issues.
In Gary, where the need to downsize government is urgent, this is an opportunity worth pursuing with greater haste than Porter County has shown so far.