Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sallisaw’s Animal Shelter Is a Happy Ending

The Sallisaw Animal Shelter is about 30 days from completion, and was built on the site of the old shelter on a tight budget. The kennels are complete, and have housed animals since about May, said Randy Freeman, animal control officer. 

Sallisaw’s new animal shelter has 14 kennels for dogs, including three kennels set aside for isolation. The kennels connect to a large outdoor run where the animals may socialize and individual runs.

The exam room at the new Sallisaw Animal Shelter is being furnished with the help of Sallisaw Lumber, which donated a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, and building materials. 

This little lady is up for adoption at the Sallisaw Animal Shelter. Randy Freeman, animal control officer, said the four-month-old pup is a rat terrier mix. For information on adopting a pet contact the shelter at 918-775-6241, ext. 210, or visit the shelter on Facebook at Sallisaw Animal Care Facility.

The Sallisaw Animal Shelter prides itself on happy endings – finding homes for homeless animals – and is very near a construction happy ending itself.

The shelter, once housed in a deteriorating building and listed as in a flood plain, is now in a new facility and within 30 days of completion.

Not too long ago the city animal shelter was in an old crumbling facility that was said to be at one time part of the city’s sewage treatment facility. Inevitably, a new facility was needed, and city officials and individuals set out to build a new shelter. Plans were drawn up and property purchased. But those plans didn’t go well. The proposed new shelter plans turned out to be more expensive, at an estimated $500,000, than the city could afford, and the neighbors to the newly-purchased shelter property objected to its location.

Little stumbling blocks like those didn’t stop those who wanted a better life and facility for Sallisaw dogs and cats. Sallisaw employees and police officers took over an old barn on the new property and renovated it as a temporary shelter. In the meantime, the city tore down the old building, and city employees found out how to rebuild a shelter on the old site, by moving it and lifting it out of the flood plain.

Bids were called for and a metal building was constructed on the site of the old shelter.

Then city employees, volunteers and donors stepped in to change a not-happening ending into a happy ending.

Sallisaw Lumber donated a washer, dryer and refrigerator for the shelter’s new exam room, which is nearly complete. Sallisaw Lumber also donated other building supplies to complete the walls of the new facility.

Walmart donated flooring. Tractor Supply and Walmart continue to donate kibble for Sallisaw’s critters.

City employees work to repurpose materials and are nearly ready to install air conditioning units from the old middle school in the new shelter, and marble backing in the exam room is also from the old middle school.

Even left-over grass, from the new sports complex, found new roots at the animal shelter.

In the meantime, city employees, individuals and the Guardian Angel volunteer group continue to donate their time, talents and money to see to the animal shelter’s completion.

Keith Miller, city building development director, and Randy Freeman, city animal control officer, said this week the animal shelter is within 30 days of completion. The shelter’s 14 kennels are installed and occupied, and, as the city’s 2015-16 budget kicks in for the new fiscal year, the shelter’s new interior will be completed, and will include a cattery for homeless cats and kittens and an office. Miller said more sod will be laid down on the grounds, and future plans even include a holding area for large animals.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Miller said. “We had to wait on the city’s funding for the new fiscal year. That kicked in July 1.”

Freeman thanked the donors and volunteers who have made a troubled and costly project into a dream come true. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering may contact the Guardian Angels at 918-208-4108.

Freeman said anyone interested in adopting a pet may contact the shelter at 918-775-6241, ext. 210, or may visit the shelter’s Facebook page at Sallisaw Animal Care Facility.

Miller concluded, as he looked out over the shelter’s grounds, “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. But in 30 days this will look completely different. We’re going to have a great facility once we’re done.”

The cost? $60,000. The reward? Happy homes for dogs and cats. And that makes Sallisaw’s Animal Shelter a happy ending for everyone.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit www.kxmx.com

 Green Leaf Properties

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