The City of Billings, MT, outsourced its shelter operations two years ago to a local group through an RFP. The city continues to provide the animal control operation because of the health-related issues of rabies control, strays, etc. The city also retained ownership of its 6-year-old shelter. Two kennel employees were laid off . We pay the animal shelter organization slightly less than it cost the city to run the shelter itself, because a national review showed that a private shelter without a municipal contract or an affiliation to a major group such as the ASPCA or Animal Welfare League usually cannot raise sufficient funds to sustain itself. The funding gives the private group a base to raise additional dollars that are devoted to programming and shelter improvements. The next test will come as we negotiate the second contract, and see the price. Benefits are that the animal control staff, which initally opposed the move, now is relieved to be able to spend its time focusing on the public health issues, and that the city has stopped receiving numerous complaints it used to get over shelter operations, kill rates, etc.