Smithfield considers joining Lincoln animal shelter

Smithfield considers joining Lincoln animal shelter

The town of Smithfield is considering a partnership with Lincoln Animal Control, located off Wellington Road. Lincoln is nearing the end of a one-year contract to merge animal control services with Cumberland.

LINCOLN – The town of Smithfield is inching closer to a potential agreement to merge animal shelters with Lincoln.

Smithfield Town Manager Randy Rossi will be meeting with Lincoln Town Administrator Joe Almond this week to discuss the proposal and review potential plans. The decision to merge would need to be brought back to the Smithfield Town Council for approval.

Though Rossi said neither he nor the council have decided on anything yet, he’s “very receptive” to the idea of merging animal control facilities with Lincoln.

“I think it would be a good collaboration between the communities,” he said. “In the long run, it’s going to save Smithfield a large amount of money.”

Rossi said the Smithfield Animal Control building at 3 Spragueville Road is in need of capital upgrades, and that the merger would cut back on overtime hours paid to animal control officers caring for the animals.

“There is potential long-term savings on top of capital,” Rossi said.

Lincoln’s shelter, located at 25 Wellington Road, was recently renamed the Blackstone Valley Municipal Animal Shelter. After the shelter underwent $300,000 in renovations last year, the town of Cumberland agreed to merge animal control services with Lincoln for a one-year trial term.

That term comes to an end next month, at which point Cumberland officials will decide whether or not to continue with the arrangement.

Under the current lease agreement, Cumberland pays $1,000 a month to share animal control services with Lincoln. Cumberland was not charged until January, as Lincoln used their former shelter off Martin Street for four months last spring during renovations.

Cumberland Mayor Jeff Mutter said, “At this point, we’re thinking of signing on for another year,” though officials have not formally shared their intentions with Lincoln.

The town’s Martin Street facility “needs a little bit of work,” Mutter said, so returning animal control services to Cumberland without addressing the needs of that building is not an option. Mutter said it’s in the town’s best interest to fix that building sooner rather than later, so that the town or another entity can use it.

“I don’t want to see that building fall into such disrepair that we can’t do anything with it,” he said.

Mutter said he would be open to re-establishing Cumberland’s shelter, but that remaining in Lincoln is the town’s “best option at this point.”

“I wouldn’t be opposed to us returning to that space if that made sense and was in the best interest of the people,” Mutter said. “I’m not so sure that it’s a monumental task to get that facility up and running, but we’re in the process of finding out.”

In the meantime, Mutter said he expects to begin discussions with Almond soon to hammer out a plan for next year.