Plan on hold as Overland Park considers changing animal clinic for city contract

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Plans to change the way Overland Park handles stray pets is on hold, as the City’s Public Safety Committee reevaluates its decision to stop using Great Planes SPCA in favor of a local veterinary clinic.

Some people in Overland Park were stunned to read about the vote to change shelters on the Public Safety Committee agenda a few weeks ago. A large number of people objected and the city is listening.

“What we’ve decided to do is we are going to take a step back,” said Paul Lyons, Chairman of the Overland Park Public Safety Committee.

Overland Park is stepping back from its proposal to cut ties with Great Planes SPCA in favor of Wycliff Animal Clinic. A move originally considered because Lyons said Great Planes SPCA does not fulfill all of the city’s needs. For instance, with dog bites.

“Animal Control would pick that animal up and it has to go into quarantine in order to determine it doesn’t have rabies,” Lyons said. “Great Planes SPCA doesn’t do that so we have to take that animal to another facility.”

Great Planes SPCA said it does have the ability to quarantine and animal advocate Glen Golden said reunification success, amenities and social media networks should be top priorities when considering a change.

“I don’t want it automatically going to the lowest bidder,” Golden said. “I want to make sure the people that have a say and a vote in it evaluate both facilities or all facilities.”

Lyons said the City is now opening up the bidding process to all animal facilities interested in the city contract, although Wycliff Animal Clinic already has plans in the works to expand to the National American University building across the street from its vet clinic at 103rd and Mastin.

“We did go on a tour of the Wycliff facility and he showed us their new building that they’re looking to acquire, but the way it was presented to us is that it was up in the air contingent upon what’s going to happen here,” Lyons said.

When asked if the owner of Wycliff Animal Clinic was in negotiations for a new facility because he had been promised the contract, Lyons said,  “Well, I tell you I hope not because the Council has to vote on the contract. So, until it’s voted on and approved by the Council it’s not a done deal.”

The city’s contract says stray animals are the responsibility of the City for five days, then become the responsibility of the shelter. Great Planes SPCA is a no kill shelter and animal advocates worry that another facility may euthanize. Lyons said keeping health animals alive will be a condition of the contract.

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