By Bonnie Culverhouse
Time is running out for the City of Minden to use a $75,000 grant that will bring an animal control facility, built in the 1950s, into a humane housing situation for four-legged friends while they wait for their forever home.
“We are looking at a $350,000-project,” Building Official Brent Cooley said. “We will have to get donations to pay for the difference.”
While the department has a budget of $190,000, none of that money can be used for a building project, Cooley said. It is for salaries for two workers, maintenance and upkeep. Fortunately, much of the food is donated.
Renovation of the current facility is likely out of the question. Not only was it built more than 60 years ago, the terrain around the building has changed over the years.
“It’s really futile to put more money into it,” Cooley said.
Outside kennels are unusable because of flooding issues.
“The drain in the center of the kennels is actually uphill,” Cooley said. “So, they don’t drain at all. Then the ground around them is higher, too.”
The same is true of the main building, which floods if it rains faster than it can drain. Thousands of dollars have been sunk into the concrete block structure, as well as sewers and drains.
“We’ve done everything we can do to this building,” Cooley said. “But there’s nothing we can do about the land around it.”
Animal Control Officer Carrie Ford has used social media to communicate with the public, but the city Animal Control facility is not for adoptions. Instead, they work closely with local veterinarians and humane associations.
“If you come here and find a dog, or see one on social media – providing the dog is adoptable – we release it to a veterinarian or a humane association group,” Ford said. “The vet will spay or neuter and the humane association vets the applicant to make sure the home is right for the dog.”
But every day, Ford receives phone calls from people who don’t want their dogs.
“They want us to come get them, but we don’t do that,” she said. “We don’t take owner surrenders. We only pick up strays. After 10 days has passed, the dog needs to be headed to a new home.”
Despite the state of the concrete building – with cracks and missing chunks – Cooley feels the current site is the best one for the new facility.
“Because we pick up a lot of roadkill and dead animals, we have an on-site incinerator,” he said. “It’s very old, but it’s grandfathered-in to the current laws. We don’t euthanize animals. The veterinarians come here and take care of it humanely.”
The new metal building will be placed before the old ones are razed. The ground around it must be graded in order to avoid future drainage problems.
As a city-owned facility, the animal shelter is not allowed to take monetary donations. Ford said they have accounts at most of the local veterinary clinics, and money can be donated there to help take care of surgeries, as well as spays and neuters.
“We can worm and vaccinate at the facility,” she said. “So, the vets can help with that and medications, through donations.”
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