Yellowstone County commissioners considering paying to take stray dogs to Musselshell County

Posted at 3:56 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 18:59:41-04

BILLINGS – The Yellowstone County Commissioners are considering adding another expense to their budget: a monthly payment to the Rimrock Humane Society in Musselshell County to care for stray dogs.

Rimrock is asking Yellowstone County to start paying $25 for each dog it takes into Musselshell.

The commissioners addressed the measure Monday, but the issue will formally go before commissioners in one week.

When asked about the partnership with Rimrock Humane Society, Chairman John Ostlund said he believes giving some financial backing is something the county can get behind it.

“I think we will probably find some help for them,” he said.

Rimrock Humane Society has been handling stray dogs for Yellowstone County since 2015.

When the Yellowstone County Animal Control Officer picks up a stray dog in the county, not the city of Billings, the dog is taken first to a local vet clinic. After 72 hours, the dog is then taken to Musselshell County if it hasn’t been claimed.

Sandy Church, president of Rimrock Humane Society, said the nonprofit averages around 20 dogs annually that come from Yellowstone County. While that number seems low, the costs to care for and train the dogs is still high, she said.

Church said in 2018, Rimrock paid just over $7,600 in vet bills and boarding costs for stray dogs brought in from across Yellowstone County.

“We are one of those organizations that will do everything before they go out the door,” she said.

She says Yellowstone County’s dogs account for 25 percent of Rimrock’s costs. But costs continue to rise, according to Church, so Rimrock is asking the commissioners to start chipping in.

Rimrock also charges roughly $125 to adopt a dog.

“They do a great service. The government can’t provide for everything. We don’t have the ability to provide for the long-term care and placement for these dogs. Having a private entity to do that is a great way,” said Ostlund.

Church said if the people in Yellowstone County want to help, the Rimrock Humane Society always is in need of foster homes and donations.

Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News