A growing population of people has resulted in a lot more pets in our community. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some of those animals become lost or homeless. In fact, since 2013 alone, the City of Republic Animal Shelter has processed more than 3,000 cats and dogs. That's about 500 animals per year. Thankfully, 96% have been adopted out, returned to owners, or transferred to rescue programs.
Our current animal services facility, located on N. West Ave., is tiny, outdated, and inadequate for a growing community of this size. We've run out of space and frequently have to transfer animals to other shelters in the area. That ends up costing taxpayers $55 per animal and totals about $15,000 a year.
In hopes of solving these issues, we've been making plans for a new facility. In 2017, Republic voters approved a ¼ Capital Improvement Sales Tax. This funding source includes money for a new shelter. We began looking at our options for a new facility and searching for a location that would best meet the needs of everyone in the community.
Last year, we were made aware of a piece of property located at 732 W. State Highway 174. It's adjacent to another City-owned plot which includes a maintenance garage and water tower. We determined this particular spot contains enough space for a new shelter, offers excellent access for residents, and is the most cost-effective option. We purchased it in March for $206,000.
While bidding for construction won't be opened until September 5th, City crews have already been busy preparing for the project. The site is currently home to a 2,365-square foot building which was formerly a daycare center. That structure is being renovated and will become a part of a new 6,550 square-foot structure. The City feels incorporating the old building is the best way to save money and be a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
We expect the building to be done sometime by the spring or summer of 2020. It'll provide a much better experience for residents and animals. New features will include a customer service lobby where adoptions can take place; office space for employees; an area for animal intake and care; and spacious sheltering facilities for the dogs and cats. The new Republic Animal Shelter will become a regional leader in animal control and adoptions!
Some residents have asked if the new facility will be "no-kill." While the building may be new, the Republic Animal Shelter's policy will remain the same. It makes every effort possible to find homes for all pets that come into its care. It does not euthanize animals which are adoptable and treatable, nor does it put down animals because of a lack of shelter space. If the facility doesn't have room for certain animals, they get transported to the Joplin Humane Society- which maintains the same policy. The Republic Animal Shelter cares for 500 dogs and cats annually and is proud of the fact 96% of them are adopted out, returned to owners, or transferred to rescue programs.
|The current Republic Animal Shelter, located on N. West Avenue. ||This building and property on Highway 174 will soon be home to the brand-new Republic Animal Shelter. |