Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Animal Shelter Nearly an "Emergency"

"You are pretty close to an emergency," John Robert Montgomery, Sallisaw's attorney, told city commissioners at their meeting Monday evening. Montgomery was referring to an engineering report condemning the current animal control shelter, suggesting no one should be in the building. City Manager Bill Baker said the report indicated that no one should even enter the shelter because concrete was deteriorating and could fall. Baker asked city commissioners for direction to a solution. He suggested the city again seek bids for an animal shelter, but at a reduced size. The city has set aside $100,000 for a new shelter, but bids last month were hundreds of thousands over what the city has, and all bids were rejected. The condemnation of the old shelter has nearly put the city in an emergency situation. 

Police Chief Terry Franklin explained that should the city no longer use the shelter, the animal control officer could not pick up at-large animals since there was no place to put them, but could fine animals' owners for letting their pets run free. Baker said he checked with other animal shelters in the county, and no one had room for Sallisaw's roaming pets. Destroying the animals immediately was not an option, he said, because most are escaped from homes and owners usually retrieve them. 

Baker said the only option was quick construction of a reduced-size shelter. The commissioners agreed and approved calling for bids for a fabricated metal building, with 24 dog kennels and space set aside for cats and an office. The bidding period will be for 30 days, with building completion 90 days after the contract is awarded. The shelter will be on property the city has on Eppler Avenue.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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