Animal shelter grant money requires more discussion

By Bonnie Culverhouse

During the September meeting of the Minden City Council, council members voted 3-2 against a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the State of Louisiana to receive $75,000 in grant funds for the relocation and rehabilitation of the Minden Animal Shelter.

District A Councilman Wayne Edwards said in a community meeting of his district, as well as B and C, that he cast a dissenting vote because of where Mayor Terry Gardner wants to put the shelter.

“We did not turn down the (grant),” Edwards said. “We turned down the location (existing building on Talton Street). The information submitted to the state in order to secure that grant required a location be added to the documentation.

“Had the funding been identified as being separate in the narrative, there would have been no problem,” he concluded. “At that time, we may have found a more suitable location, but for that amount of money, you can’t build what we were building.”

Some local residents would rather not see a new shelter near a school, with J.A. Phillips in close proximity.

District C Councilman Vincen Bradford said the only way Gardner can secure the money for a new animal shelter is “to have canine (K9) dogs.”

“The layout had several areas just for canine (K9) dogs,” he said. “He’s got to have police dogs or contact other people to bring in their canine dogs. So, he’s not telling you everything.”

“In this instance, K9 is just an abbreviation for canine,” Gardner said. “We aren’t talking about service dogs or police dogs – just dogs. Canines.”

The animal shelter is currently on Ewell Street. While it could be updated with the money, Gardner said there is no room for expansion.

“What I would like to see is a shelter and adoption facility for the animals,” he said. “That’s why it would require work on any building, whether it’s Talton Street or somewhere else. That just happens to be a building the city already owns. It’s just sitting there.”

Gardner agrees with Edwards that the Talton Street facility cannot be remodeled for $75,000.

“I feel like I can raise the rest of the money,” he said.

Where he disagrees is when Edwards said the paperwork for the cooperative agreement required a location before the money would be awarded.

“That’s just not true,” Gardner said. “Yes, there are stringent regulations that include inspections of the property as it’s being remodeled, but we did not have to give a location in order to get the money.”

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