Posted on

Another animal shelter proposal

Another proposal for an animal control facility is expected Monday at the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting, when Doug Campbell, client relations representative for Poggemeyer Design Group, will make a report.
Campbell, the former mayor of Salem, appeared June 7 before the county council and commissioners at a special joint meeting. He requested a copy of the needs assessment study Harrison County completed a couple of years ago and he also asked to see the property in the Harrison County Industrial Park that’s being considered for the animal control facility.
Council members and the commissioners were shown plans of a shelter Poggemeyer designed for a county in Ohio.
‘It may be smaller (than what Harrison County needs), but there are some items that need to be looked at,’ Campbell said.
The Ohio facility, which serves a population of about 21,500, has 12 kennels and was built for about $130,000.
Campbell said outside ‘runs’ with a roof over them makes it easier to keep the kennels clean.
Installing outdoor runs ‘would stop us from using the current site,’ said J.R. Eckart, who chairs the county commissioners. When the property was purchased, neighboring property owners in the industrial park were told that animals would not be allowed outdoors.
Campbell said it’s important that the facility is properly coated to help prevent undesirable odors.
‘We can design something that works for you now and will continue to work for many years to come,’ Campbell said.
Eckart said they were told to expect about 1,400 dogs and cats to pass through the control facility in a 12-month period, with a five- to seven-day stay, long enough to allow the facility to notify someone that their animal had been brought there in case of lost or stolen pets.
‘They still tell us the first two years we’ll have a high number come in,’ Eckart said. ‘People with five or six dogs they’ve taken in that they don’t really want, as soon as the facility is available they will bring these in and drop them off. We can expect a high number to start with.’
County councilman Alvin Brown and Eckart said they think the county’s spay/neuter program has reduced the number of strays in the county. Eckart said more than 400 pets have been spayed or neutered since the program’s inception three years ago.
Gloria Scott, who runs the animal advocate group HEART, said she hasn’t noticed any difference since the program went into effect.
(At its June 9 meeting, the county council approved an additional $15,000 to continue the spay/neuter program, which will be located in the animal control facility when it’s opened.)
As part of the discussion about the animal control facility, Eckart said that he has not had anyone or group say that they would do anything, such as host a bake sale, to help fund the facility.
‘I think most taxpayers wish the issue didn’t exist,’ Eckart said.
Jennifer Reiss, one of a few people in the audience at the combined meeting, said she has heard of potential fund-raisers but was under the impression that people wanted the county to have the facility in place first ‘then donations will come in.’
At the conclusion of the meeting, Campbell was given the file Eckart has kept for the past two years about the animal control facility. Also that day, Eckart took Campbell to the proposed site, reminding him that it may not be the final location.
Campbell said he would ‘like about two weeks to look over the needs assessment. Then I can get back to you with a solid answer.’
The Harrison County Council, at its June 9 meeting, approved $300,000 for the animal shelter from the riverboat contingency fund.