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Animal shelter details hammered out

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By Jennifer Garcia

  The roof and kennels of the proposed animal shelter were revisited again at last Tuesday night’s County Council meeting. Capital Projects Manager and Facilities Director Anne Laurent made her pitch to council in an effort to increase the budget for the animal shelter to $1,357,380, which would incorporate a metal roof, outside kennel drainage and would increase the number of kennels from 14 to 18.

  Laurent said that she and her staff want to put solar panels on the animal shelter, as well as radiant heat. “You’re not replacing any unit by doing radiant heat,” she said. “It also adds comfort to the animals.”

  During her presentation, she also addressed the coyote fence that is part of the plans for the new shelter. The fence was a main point of the last animal shelter discussion because councilors were concerned that it did not meet downtown standards. “The architect has dressed up the coyote fence and that constitutes the façade and how we meet the downtown standards,” Laurent said. She also mentioned that the flat roof has been converted and that is where the proposed solar panels would go.

  Laurent also described the proposed kennels and how the chain link fronts would be replaced with either a solid glass or metal panel for “dogs that are barkers” or can be disruptive when people enter the animal shelter. She said that the panels would be used instead of the chain link-type front for the kennel because “it looks more attractive.”

  Sally Wilkins, a volunteer at the animal shelter was in council chambers during Tuesday night’s meeting to help answer some of the questions that councilors had regarding the shelter and the animals they care for.

  Bowman asked Wilkins how long an animal stays in the shelter before he or she is adopted. “We’ve had dogs up to six months and cats up to a year,” Wilkins replied. “What’s the average?” Bowman queried. “Dogs stay one to two months,” Wilkins said. “Cats don’t move as fast as the dogs. It’s two to five months for cats.

  “We tried to prioritize things that we thought were important,” Wilkins said of the animal shelter plans. “When the original design was done, it was a conceptual idea of kennels, so we did some measuring and what we have right now is 3.5 by 12 feet long, that a dog has access to 24 hours a day.” She said the new design will be 3 feet by 12 feet long, but will be divided by a guillotine. “Half is inside and half is outside,” she said. “When no one is there, the animals will be confined to half they space they are in now.”

  Going back to the topic of the roof and kennels, Laurent said that the reason she pursued the drains and the roof during the Nov. 18 meeting is because she felt it was a better payback to do the longer life roof now rather than later. “We added the kennels because we were trying to improve the design on the 18th and not delay the progress. The kennels came up after the 18th,” she said.

  The vote on the original motion got a bit confusing as amendments were added and some failed. Originally, Councilor Ken Milder moved, seconded by Councilor Michael Wheeler, that Council approve Budget Revision 2009-21, increasing the Animal Shelter Project budget to $1,357,380 to incorporate the metal roof, outside kennel drainage and increase the number of kennels from 14 to 18. He further moved that the following enhancements be incorporated from the agenda documentation: The site floor plan, the downtown architectural standards renderings and the schematic design enhancement costs. The motion also directed staff to return to Council with a budget revision to increase the Animal Shelter Project Budget accordingly.

  Wheeler then offered a friendly amendment that was accepted by Milder that asked that the budget revision be sufficient to include the solar heating at a cost of $133,346. The amended motion failed 2-4, with Councilors Gibson, Hall, Berting and Bowman voting against it.

  Chairman Hall then moved to amend the original motion, seconded by Gibson, to remove enhancement A — upgrade exterior to meet downtown architectural standards, and further moved that the following enhancements be incorporated from Attachment D of the agenda documentation: Enhancement A, B, C and D; and direct staff to return to Council with a budget revision to increase the Animal Shelter Project Budget accordingly. That amended motion also failed 2-4, with Councilors Wheeler, Berting, Bowman and Milder opposed.

  Berting amended the original motion, adding a cat play solid partition from the dog area, an exterior canopy to cover storage material and an expanded delivery yard, which adds $17,000. The motion quickly failed for lack of a second. Berting then moved to amend the original motion, seconded by Milder, to add only the cat play solid partition from the dog area, at a cost of $4,000. Berting then decided to withdraw the motion.

  The uncertainty finally came to an end when Hall moved to call the question as stated in the original motion. That motion passed 5-1 with Gibson opposed.