Legal questions are swirling as the City of Manhattan continues toward a plan of privatizing its animal shelter and shifting animal control to the Riley County Police Department.
Deputy Riley County Counselor Craig Cox clarified Thursday why the City of Manhattan has stopped enforcing animal control services in Riley County, which the county noted earlier in the week it had been paying for under a resolution.
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Cox says the City of Manhattan intends to maintain control of the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter. But legally it’s unclear how that impacts the RCPD consolidation. By statute, under the 80/20 split, Riley County is in charge of maintaining facilities for RCPD. Cox and Commissioner John Ford discussed the dilemma.

In addition, if the city is successful moving animal control officers to RCPD, Cox says it is his legal opinion that enforcement would have to be countywide and not just limited to the City of Manhattan, despite the city’s supposed desire to move from seven to three animal control officers.

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Cox noted he plans to have more detailed information shared at the next Riley County Law Board meeting, scheduled for April 17.