01/08/07 — County close to picking location for new shelter

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County close to picking location for new shelter

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 8, 2007 1:59 PM

Wayne County officials could announce the location of a new animal shelter as soon as next week, county Manager Lee Smith said.

The county's Buildings and Grounds Department has been working with contractor Walter Vick and LSV Partnership Architects over the past month surveying a potential site on county-owned land north of Goldsboro, but officials have not been willing to disclose the location.

A previous plan to build a shelter on Eighth Street in Goldsboro was met with opposition from neighbors when the county sought to have the land usage designation changed in September. The city refused to rezone the land, and the county began looking elsewhere.

A wet November slowed surveying of the new site, Smith said, and that led to delays in designing the facility.

As planned, the shelter would differ slightly from the specifications suggested by an animal control advisory board. The advisory board suggested a 10,000-square-foot, $1.2 million facility that would house 54 dog runs, which could be converted to more than 100 in the event of an emergency. That proposed facility would also hold 50 cat runs.

Vick's proposed 11,500-square-foot animal shelter is expected to hold the same amount of dog and cat runs, but it will allow more space to separate sick, quarantined and adaptable animals.

Sanitation will also be the focus at a new animal shelter. Contractors have already considered a proper air circulation system to limit any kind of contamination and to reduce smell, Smith said.

The dog and cat runs will be made of stainless steel, which are easier to clean than other materials and help prevent the spread of bacteria, Smith said.

Each animal that comes to the new animal shelter will also be treated as humanely as possible, Smith said. The existing shelter uses a carbon monoxide chamber to euthanize animals. All euthanizations at the new animal shelter will be conducted via sodium pentobarbital injections. Even aggressive animals will be euthanized in a humane way through the use of a "squeeze cage," Smith said.

A squeeze cage has a collapsible wall that restricts an animal's movements so an animal control officer can safely euthanize the animal, he added.

The county may also implement a crematorium to incinerate carcasses instead of transporting them to the county landfill, but no decisions have been made on that addition, Smith said.

County officials are unsure whether all of these improvements will raise the cost of a new animal shelter. After a location and the facility's plans are finalized and presented to the county commissioners, the county can bid out the project. Then, the county should know the exact cost of a new facility.

Fortunately, the county has received money from the community to begin construction, which Smith said he hopes can begin some time this month. In September, two anonymous donors offered $200,000 toward the project if certain criteria were met.

The donors requested that a humane, sanitary animal shelter be built in a central location. Increasing the county's adoption rate is also a priority for the donors. Local residents have joined in the effort and given more than $50,000 toward the project in the past year.

County officials expect to be able to pay the remaining costs for a new shelter directly out of the county's coffers. Smith said he and other county officials have already discussed costs and available funds with Davenport and Co., which serves as the county's financial adviser, and the county should have enough funds to pay for the facility without financing the project over several years.

People who are interested in contributing to the project can send a check to Wayne County at P.O. Box 227, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533.