Claire Hall, Myth buster: Animal Shelter Myths

My little friend Boggs, I adopted this winter at the shelter
Companion animals are very dear to a lot of people in Lincoln County, including me. 

Through the years I’ve had dogs, guinea pigs, and am currently owned by two cats—one who was rehomed, the other I adopted at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.

Though I’ve posted about the shelter before, I want to clear up some misconceptions that are still floating about.

First is the claim that we did nothing until the crisis. Not true. We knew the building’s useful life was limited, despite putting major amounts of money into it for roof, HVAC plumbing and electrical work. But until we had a couple of employees report respiratory issues in July and ordered immediate mold testing, our facilities staff told us the building had three to five years of useful life left. Because of our awareness of this, we put $300,000 aside in the budget last spring to create a building replacement fund.

Some people believe we didn’t start looking for a new site until now. This is also not true. I know of one site that looked like it would meet our needs but was sold before we could make an offer. Another promising location was ruled out because it was zoned for residential use and the city said it was highly unlikely their planning commission and city council would approve a zoning change for the parcel.

We moved operations into the Exhibit Hall at the Commons temporarily, knowing that this would be a short-term solution for many reasons, including our standing commitments to the Winter Farmers Market and the warming shelter operated by Grace Wins Haven.

It took heroic efforts by shelter staff and our legal, finance and maintenance people, but we were able to open to interim shelter in time to clear the Exhibit Hall for the other users.

A common question is why we’re not going to rebuild at the present site. That hasn’t been ruled out, but there’s a limited footprint available, and ideally, we’d like to have space for future expansion. As
reported, we are negotiating with the City of Newport to lease a parcel of land at the south end of the airport property that had already been set aside for future development. It’s out of the flight path and looks promising, but we’re continuing our investigation, and if there is a concrete proposal for a lease, it will go through a public process at both the city and county level.

We will see this through, and the end result will be a far better shelter that we’ve ever had before.

We’re looking at not just meeting our needs to house and care for animals now, but for decades to come. 

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