06/07/06 — Shelter buzz: There is right and wrong in debate over new facility

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Shelter buzz: There is right and wrong in debate over new facility

To say that Wayne County does not need a new animal shelter is just plain shortsighted.

And, by the same token, to say that all we need is the equivalent of a bare bones concrete building since the main activity that happens at the current shelter is euthanizing animals is missing the point.

The current county animal control facility is nothing short of horrible. The conditions are terrible and the building is not a structure of which this community should be proud. It is way past time to do something about this problem.

It is no wonder the shelter euthanizes more animals than it adopts. Would you want to bring your children down to that sort of place to find a new pet? And, would you not worry a bit about the health of an animal you found there?

But all that said, the commissioners who are advising that we are careful with the type of facility we build — and how much we spend — are right, too.

This county is not rich enough to write a blank check. There are many priorities to consider for next year’s budget — and beyond. We have to think about schools, state bills and other expenses, too.

There is nothing wrong with asking the community to step up to the plate and assist with building an animal shelter that allows us not only to control the unwanted animal population, but to perhaps find a few homes for homeless pets at the same time.

And many people have already stepped up — donating money to get the work under way. Several local humane groups have even volunteered to assist with the adoption, spaying and neutering and rescue programs at the new shelter once it opens.

Even Wayne County Commission Chairman Atlas Price put his money where his mouth is. He and his family gave $1,200 this week in support of the effort. He should be commended for doing what he is asking others to do — stand behind this community project.

But the money in question also belongs to the people. There is nothing wrong with residents reminding the commission that this is their tax money, and if they want some of it spent on a new shelter, that is where it should go.

So, while Commissioner Jack Best’s recent analysis of the shelter question might have been a whole lot left of right, he was right to suggest there are decisions to be made. It is time to create a shelter goal, a plan of action and a concentrated effort to get, first, the fundraising and then, the construction done.

The community has indicated this shelter is a priority.

Now, it is all of our jobs to get behind the project to make it happen.

Published in Editorials on June 7, 2006 12:26 PM