Commission seeking grant to build new dog kennels
by Jazz Clark
The Morgan County Commission is currently working on a Petco Capital Grant to seek funds to build a new Animal Control facility, officials said last Thursday, April 19.
If funding is awarded, the county would build on a parcel of land they already own.
Carol York, grant administrator for the county, estimated the cost of the new facility between $250,000 and $350,000 depending on what the commissioners envision. The proposed costs are for an eight or 12 kennel facility, York said.
“It’s uncommon for Petco to award capital grants,” said York. “While none of this is guaranteed, it’s an approach that might be helpful.”
While it’s unknown how much of the cost Petco would fund if the grant were accepted, the organization has awarded over $4,000,000 to animal societies and shelters in the last year alone, said York.
“They can modify the amount based on how much they like the application and whether or not we can establish a compelling case of need,” York said.
Commissioner Brad Close asked if the county would have to immediately specify which land parcel would be used for the project.
York said the application and letter of intent would be submitted first. If those are accepted, they have to make a decision on the exact location for the new facility.
President Stacy Dugan was appointed as official representative for the grant.
“We’ve been doing quite a bit of research on the grant,” said Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson. “We have 26 acres out on Route 522, and I find it difficult to believe that there isn’t a two-acre slot out there that would be suitable for our needs.”
Current management lacking?
In other animal control business, members of the community told the commissioners they are upset with the current kennels and the policies of the new officer, Jason Pearce.
One such disappointed citizen, Dawn White, presented a package of information to county officials that she said may help the commission in setting future animal control policy.
“We’re still at the same problem we’ve always had with animal control, that there is no management,” White said. “There needs to be an orderly administration of the kennels.”
White suggests using forms from Berkeley and Hampshire counties, who she feels have been more diligent in their upkeep of animal facilities.
“The forms are a waste of time if no one is monitoring whether or not they’re accurate,” said White. “Animals are passing through and there is no record of them. I want to know why.”
Hutchinson agrees that “while these forms are in place, they aren’t being completed properly and no one is tracking the numbers.”
At question were forms that indicate what kind and how many dogs are taken into the county’s custody each day, and what happens to the animals after they are picked up.
The commissioners agreed that the daily routine of record keeping by the Animal Control officer has to be improved. They told White they would take her documents and suggestions into consideration.
But while the improvements to the Route 9 kennels are ongoing, President Stacy Dugan had one additional concern:
“These dogs get a roof over their head, two meals a day, water and electric. That’s more than many of the citizens of our community have. The people of this community are hurting as well.”