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County decides on new animal shelter, asks for $2 million

Fractured brick and separated support beam above a kennel demonstrate the deterioration.

By JOHN SERFUSTINI
Sun Advocate associate editor

"It's crumbling," declared Commissioner Mike Milovich as he talked about the county's old animal shelter.

Crumbling as in the concrete floors of the outdoor dog kennels, where dog output can seep into the cracks. Or as in the brickwork around support beams.

So rather than spend a million trying to bring the old building up to code - "And it would still be an old building," commented Commissioner John Jones - the county is going to ask the Community Impact Board for $2 million to build a new one. The grant would be half grant, half loan.

The money would buy a more spacious and better-designed facility to handle the growing burden of stray or unwanted pets, loose horses and cows, and occasional lizards.

During a tour of the old facility Wednesday, shelter supervisor Doreen McCourt noted that expansion of the current facility isn't possible. The building is surrounded on three sides by other property at the industrial area near Four Mile Hill. On the fourth side is a street.

At the new facility off Airport Road just before the landfill intersection, there will be room to handle the "guests" McCourt explained.

Plans call for 23 dog runs instead of the current 14. Sometimes the pup population hits 30, which is serious overcrowding. There are outside areas mapped for dog and cat exercise, as well as a corral area for stray horses and cows that get caught.

One advance that dogs may welcome is the addition of floor heating instead of the current 14. Sometimes the pup population hits 30, which is serious overcrowding. There are outside areas mapped for dog and cat exercise, as well as a corral area for stray horses and cows that get caught.

One advance that dogs may welcome is the addition of floor heating instead of the current overhead radiant heaters, McCourt said.

Another welcome feature, she continued, will be a surrounding chain-link fence with a controlled entry gate. That's to prevent a repeat of incidents such as the time someone threw a little pug puppy over the kennel fence in the middle of the night.

Finally, there's room for expansion, if necessary, she concluded. "That means that as the community grows, we can grow along with it."




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