Ongoing challenges within Manhattan’s T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter were discussed at the city’s Tuesday work session.

Assistant City Attorney Rachel Sherck says one major issue is a lack of jurisdiction for animal control officers. ACOs work jointly with the Riley County Police Department, but lack the legal authority to help with animal control issues that occur, for example, on private property or outside city limits.


The shelter also cited issues with animal intake, staff burnout, outdated computer systems and policies, and its involvement with surrounding cities.

Interim Parks and Recreation Director Wyatt Thompson asked for the board’s input on three proposed solutions for these challenges.


Mayor Mark Hatesohl and Commissioners John Matta and Wynn Butler agreed “no, yes, yes” to the three propositions.

Matta felt that increasing RCPD involvement and outsourcing to third-party organizations would be the most beneficial.


RCPD Director Brian Peete was very receptive to the merge between ACOs and his department, but said there is a lot of work to be done to ensure proper changes are made.


Overall, the board felt Tuesday’s presentation was a solid start, but need more research and information to be gathered and presented before any future action is taken.