The Marion Police Department has entered into a contract with the Cedar Valley Humane Society to relieve the department of its duties to handle stray animals, according to KCRG.

As law enforcement agencies across the country increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs of short-staffing and additional responsibilities and obligations, the Marion Police Department will no longer take in stray animals and keep them under their care.

Prior to this agreement, officers were responsible for feeding them, changing cat litter, and taking dogs out in the interim until the animals could be picked up by Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control. In short, Marion police will no longer act as that middle man.

Marion Police Department Chief Mike Kitsmiller goes on to explain that "ever since I got here one of the biggest things the officers have wanted to do is get out of the, what I call the dog catcher business." He states that under his watch, at least 3 officers have been bitten by stray dogs in their care.

It's nothing personal, according to Kitsmiller, but as he further estimates it will save his department about 100 hours to focus on other responsibilities. You know, things like breaking up fights, investigating shootings, and other more police-y things. He says he knows the stray pets will be in good hands and under good care with the CVHS.

How it will work now is for Marion pet owners to call CVHS to pick up a stray as long as it’s contained. If the animal is found after hours, they should call the non-emergency Marion police number and they will dispatch CVHS to help. Pets should be picked up by their owners within three days.

Strays should be taken directly to the Cedar Valley Humane Society, 7411 Mt. Vernon Rd. SE within regular business hours (noon-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday). If a stray is found after hours, you should call the Marion Police non-emergency number (319)377-1511 which will connect you with CVHS.

Pet owners will be charged an $80 pick-up fee, plus $25 for boarding each day after the first day.

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