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Two sites seen as options for new Douglas County animal shelter
by Tom Spigolon
tspigolon@neighbornewspapers.com
July 24, 2013 11:45 AM | 1994 views | 4 4 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennel technician Mary Celano cuddles one of the many kittens available for adoption at the Douglas County Animal Shelter last week.
Kennel technician Mary Celano cuddles one of the many kittens available for adoption at the Douglas County Animal Shelter last week.
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Elected and appointed county officials are working to find the next location for the outdated Douglas County Animal Shelter following an advisory board’s recommendation last week that one be built near the new county jail and I-20.

Animal Control Advisory Board member Herb Emory made the motion to recommend the new location to the Douglas County Commission. He said the current location in northwest Douglas County near the county landfill can be difficult to find.

“It’s hard to tell people how to get to the shelter,” he said. “It’s not centrally located.”

Emory said he felt the county is forced now to take “baby steps” in its animal care and adoption efforts when it should be taking “giant steps.”

“I just felt like we should go ahead [with planning],” Emory said.

He said he felt a location on county-owned land near the current jail off Fairburn Road would allow easier public access while allowing department officials the option of using inmates to do such routine duties as cleaning cage areas – freeing up animal control department workers to provide closer care for the animals.

“We’ve got to come up with a better way to do some of these routine duties,” Emory said.

Newly-hired animal services director Bill Peacock, who is also county purchasing director, told the advisory board he planned to send out a request for proposals to find a possible architect.

The current 6,000-square-foot shelter was built in the mid-1980s to serve a population less than half that of modern-day Douglas County, officials have said. The Douglas County Humane Society operated the shelter until 2004 when the county took over operations.

Capacity is about 80 animals and about 170 animals were housed at the facility last week, officials said.

District 3 County Commissioner Mike Mulcare said commissioners are aware of the need for a new facility.

“It’s a crying need,” he said.

However, the commission must find a way to pay for it. Though a bond issue has been proposed, Mulcare said officials also are considering a plan similar to how the county paid for the Blake Gammill Building in downtown Douglasville,.

The county used a lease/purchase agreement with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia to finance the Gammill building. It is scheduled to pay off the loan in November.

“This is a single commissioner’s opinion,” Mulcare noted.

The commissioner said he personally has supported building a new shelter “for years” and supports the animal control board’s recommendation for a new building.

He said he would like to see a shelter built with a more modern design using “pods” to isolate animals and help halt the spread of airborne disease. It also should include a customer care area to allow the public to socialize with potential adopted pets, Mulcare said.

Mulcare said he felt a new shelter building could be built next to the existing shelter off Cedar Mountain Road northwest of Douglasville. The existing building could be partially demolished, with the remaining structure possibly used for quarantine or other isolation needs, he said.

A location near the jail is “plausible” but the county may need the land for a future government services building if the courts need to expand inside the current courthouse on Hospital Drive, Mulcare said. Most county government offices now share the building with the courts.

“I am open to the [jail site] option,” he said. “I think the location is going to be a pivotal issue.”

Comments
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What a waste of mone
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July 30, 2013
Is this a serious issue? We have hungry and unemployed people and we are concerned about cats and dogs? A pitiful state of our species.
Bocefus
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July 27, 2013
Please don't even consider the current location for building a new animal shelter! The current location is too far away from everything and definitely should not be near a landfill and a shooting range. A new shelter needs to be conveniently located and I agree with Herb Emory about locating it near the jail where inmates could be used to help maintain it. Please please don't consider building the new shelter at the current location. I also agree with Caianne that fines given out in court should go to the animal shelter instead of going in the general fund. The shelter desperately needs that money to operate the facility!
LizzT
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July 27, 2013
When my cat was lost last year, I went to the Douglas County Animal Shelter in hopes they may have picked her up. The location IS remote, but of greater concern and what was even more devastating and heartbreaking to see was the condition of the shelter. Really hope a new shelter gets built.
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July 26, 2013
As someone who sat in court for the first Wednesday of every month for a long time, I watched as fines where given out to many animal violations. I have since learned that these fines are collected and sent to the general fund. Why? Should this money not be returned to the animal shelter? This money could be used in their budget to pay salaries, maintain and/or build the new shelter. They are hurting at the shelter for the basic needs and have to wait for donations from the public.

While I understand that the animals seem to be on the low priority of most politicians, it has to be realized this is a safety and health issue for all citizens. The over population of animals in Douglas County is a threat to not only our pets, but to humans.

The second proposed locations for the shelter is across from the first one. If this is the choice then there will still be the same problems as the original one. Being next to the land fill there is the problem of pest, this puts the animals that are adoptable at risk. The second problem is the fact that the shelter is next to a shooting range, the dogs that are housed outside hear this all day, keeping them wound up and nervous, making it harder to adopt them because of their manner when someone looks at them.

Action needs to be taken now, no politician should be able to drag their feet on this because there is no money. There was good money when they gave themselves a raise...time to take care of something else other than themselves for a change!
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