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City voids pet sterilization pact


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POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

A veterinary service has lost its contract with the city because its planned mobile pet sterilization clinic never hit the road.

Animal Care Foundation, a nonprofit veterinary service based in Hawaii Kai, was the low bidder last year to operate the city's Neuter Now program designed to reduce Oahu's population of unwanted and abandoned pets.

The city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services notified the company March 16 that it had failed to meet the minimum specifications to provide veterinarians in Windward, Leeward and Central Oahu in addition to two vets in the Honolulu urban core. City spokesman Bill Brennan said Animal Care, a first-time bidder, was given time to comply with the contract before it was canceled effective April 7.

The Hawaiian Humane Society, which held the spay/neuter contract for about 22 years, was the only other bidder and will be awarded the contract after the procurement exemption process is completed, the spokesman said.

“;We lost the vehicle, so we were behind the eight ball,”; said Animal Care Vice President Frank De Giacomo. He said California-based Coalition for Pets and Public Safety delayed shipping the $500,000 rolling clinic because of delays in working out contract details with the city. “;The city delayed, so they gave our vehicle elsewhere. It was a comedy of errors, but it's not very funny.”;

Under Neuter Now, a dog or cat owner buys a certificate from the city to be used to have an animal spayed or neutered. Cost is $40 to $75. Welfare or food stamp recipients pay $20.

Hawaiian Humane Society spokeswoman Kawehi Yim said the society has 14 veterinarians ready to accept the set fee.

De Giacomo said Animal Care has the lowest pet sterilization rates, $35.55 to $56.80. Company veterinarians do about 3,000 spay or neuter surgeries a year.

“;We are suggesting that people get refunds on the certificates and come to us directly,”; he said.

The city contract called for 5,000 operations during the one-year duration of the $300,000 contract, he said.