Leader Blues

Friday, July 07, 2006

TOP STORY >> Animals will soon get new shelter

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: City employees are pitching in to get the facility ready for its July 17 opening.

City employees are pitching in to get Cabot’s new animal shelter ready to open soon.

Jim Towe, the city’s director of public works, said Friday that he and City Engineer Gail Mainard will work this weekend and evenings next week to help complete the $452,000, 7,000-square-foot facility.

Specifically, they intend to complete the bathroom this weekend, including painting the cabinet and installing the laminate top, he said.

Both Towe and Mainard are salaried workers, so their “overtime” hours don’t cost the city extra, he said.

If all the work is completed as expected, the shelter should be ready to open by the week of July 17, Towe said, but it is too soon to say when the grand opening will be held.

Cabot City Beautiful is expected to landscape the grounds next week, he said. Workers are currently laying the tile floor and hanging solid wood doors that were donated anonymously.

Towe said it is disappointing that the building was not completed in time for this weekend’s ball tournament at the Allman-Bevis Sports Complex, where the shelter is located. But he said there will be other events at the complex, and the stray animals the shelter will house will have a much better chance of finding homes than the ones at the old shelter at 800 Kerr Station Road beside the old city shop.

In addition to the better location, the new shelter will have an inside play area and an outside play area, so prospective pet owners will have a chance to get to know the animals before they take them home.

The new shelter also will have two rooms for cats, which cannot be housed at the old shelter, a puppy room, 20 kennels, a laundry room for washing bedding, an office, a room for storing food and one for preparing it, a quarantine room and a room for euthanizing animals that are not adopted and is being called a “surgery room.”

One more advantage at the new shelter is the number of volunteers who are expected to help with the animals.

“We’ve got people coming out of our ears wanting to volunteer,” Towe said. “I don’t blame them for not wanting to come to the old one with the shape it’s in. But we’ve got a lot of people who want to help out at this one.”

The new shelter is part of a $28 million bond issue that is supported by a 1-cent tax. In addition to $200,000 for the shelter, the bond issue includes $7 million to pay off the old bonds, $16.5 million for a sewer treatment plant, $1.5 million to help build a community center that is now under construction, $1.8 million for street improvements and $800,000 for the city’s part of a railroad overpass near Austin.

A small part of the money for the new animal shelter was donated or earned through fundraisers, but most of the $250,000 that was available for the shelter before the bond issue came from the city’s general fund.