MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Several animal advocates from across Marshall County, and as far away as Rainbow City, voiced their thoughts during a public hearing regarding the Marshall County Animal Shelter renovation project.
The current shelter has insulation falling from the ceiling, no heating and air, and drainage issues.
“The people who have gathered here today aren’t just people who love their pets and have a passing interest. These are people who have experience in the topic at hand. All we are requesting is the most basis minimum requirements for a functional shelter, a place where the minimal standards of animal care are met and the people aren’t completely miserable working there,” said Marshall County Animal Advocates director Kay Johnson.
Their big wants are: an HVAC system to prevent the spread of disease, control odor, and keep it comfortable for the animals, workers, and potential adopters, cinder blocks between every kennel to prevent fence fighting, and concrete slabs for the outdoor runs
“Dirt cannot be disinfected. It is difficult to keep an animal clean that are in those dirt runs and they turn into mud pits when it rains and when you try to clean them,” said Marshall County Humane Society’s Cindy Gray.
They also said a sally port should be added as well as a quarantine room for dogs and cats.
“Legally you have to hold animals for seven days without doing anything to them. Keeping that quarantine area is a must. You’ve got all these dogs coming in from different areas that have all these different diseases that will spread through the shelter,” said Rainbow City Animal Control Officer Kristy Causey.
Causey said her department has 6 employees and suspect Marshall County will need more than the two employees it currently has.
Those with firsthand experiences at the current shelter said the biggest need is better drainage in the floor.
“If yall are planning on leaving the floors and drains like it is, you just as well not to renovate this building because its still going to be a terrible mess,” said former shelter volunteer Stephanie Taymon.
“It doesn’t drain. So, just to go cut drainage paths inside this current concrete pad without addressing the slope to the drains that you put in will not fix your problem,” said Cindy Gray with the Marshall County Humane Society.
One thing the animal advocates said could be removed from the plans was the euthanasia room.
The potential price tag on the project is $400,000 to $500,000, but the animal advocates said it’s well worth it to do it properly.
“I’ve been attending the county commission meetings for over six years now and it is my impression the money is there. It may not be in the budget but what’s in the budget and what’s in the bank account are two completely different things. Quality is a worthwhile investment. We have the opportunity to have something simple but amazing. Let’s not settle for better than nothing,” explained Johnson.
Speakers at Wednesday’s meeting said they hope their much-needed corners are not cut due to costs.
Concerns were raised over the idea to temporarily house the animals at the 2nd Chance Rescue during the renovation.
They said it would cost $60 per dog, which adds up quickly.
County Engineer Bob Pirando said he will give Wednesday’s comments to the contractor and within the next month or two, they can likely go out to bid.