Voters approved $1 million in renovations and repairs but NewsChannel 11 has learned the existing animal shelter may be replaced with a new one. Animal Shelter Manager, Fred Sanderson said it would be more cost effective to build a new facility. He gave NewsChannel 11 a tour and told us why he feels it's best to start over.
"It was state of the art in its day," said Sanderson. However, that was almost 40 years ago. Now Sanderson said the shelter is overcrowded. You can see cracks in the roof where it leaks. They use fans to circulate air because the air conditioning and heat do not reach the entire building meaning, one room equipped with kennels can only be used in spring and fall. The shelter doesn't even have doors inside because the frames have rotted.
In 2004, voters approved a $1 million bond issue for improvements to the current facility, but Sanderson would rather use the money to start over.
"It's my opinion that we don't do anything with that bond money until we come up with a true cost on what it would take to build a new shelter," said Sanderson.
City Councilman Gary Boren said council recognizes the need for a new shelter. "Do you keep throwing money on patchwork or do you go ahead and do the right thing and build something first class, modern and up to date to take care of our pets," said Boren.
Sanderson said another reason for an all new facility is so it could be places in a more public place, near the mall for example, that way it's more accessible.
Sanderson said, "If you see it next to a major thoroughfare the community would pass it everyday and know where it is. I've been to meetings where people have been here all their lives and they ask me for the address of the animal shelter."
Sanderson believes a new facility would ultimately lead to more adoptions.
Councilman Boren said council will continue to discuss the needs of the facility but so far they have no set plans for a new facility. In the meantime, outside firms will analyze the current shelter to determine if a new one is needed.