Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Shelter Needs Upgrading, Study Finds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Shelter Needs Upgrading, Study Finds

Article excerpt

The 15-year-old city animal shelter is detrimental to the health

and care of the cats and dogs who occupy its runs and cages, a

consultant hired by the city has determined.

The facilities have poor ventilation, watering and drainage,

and offer few design features that would encourage people to

adopt pets, including a welllighted exhibition space for cats,

the report by Bacon Group Inc. states.

Overcrowding is compounding the design flaws.

The shelter has 248 adoption kennels for dogs, for instance,

but often has four dogs to a kennel. The consultant recommends

500 to 700 kennels.

And the cat rooms are also insufficient. Feral and quarantined

cats are placed in cages in the same room as cats available for

adoption.

Health concerns are not limited to the animals.

The kennel drainage system, for instance, consists of open

trenches that are pressure-washed during public visits.

"The location of the drain, which is between the kennels and

the public sidewalk, creates a potential for the public to be

accidentally sprayed with waste material," the report said. "The

exposure of the public to waste material is not an acceptable

health practice."

The city, which initiated the consultant survey, is expected to

provide $500,000 to improve the shelter this year. The City

Council's Finance Committee recommended the money yesterday, and

the full council could consider it as soon as Tuesday.

But that infusion is expected to provide only stopgap

improvements, enough to carry the center through the next few

years.

Eventually, the consultant recommends, the city should consider

a system of satellite animal shelters located around the county.

Because the shelter, at 2580 W. First St., is near downtown,

dropping off a stray cat found at the Beaches could take 45

minutes. …

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