Animal Shelter receives necessary repairs
The Cameron Animal Shelter is in the process of getting much needed repairs. The animal shelter has been the topic of conversation at City Council meetings for the past two years – with the main focus being how to afford a new shelter.
According to Kathy Turner, Animal Control Officer, in 2014 the original portion of the shelter building, done with concrete block and mortar was still in decent shape, but the portion, which had been added in 2001, was falling apart.
The problems, according to Turner, arose because the addition to the building was done with two by fours, insulation and plastic sheeting. The runs in the shelter and all the walls are sprayed down with water every day – causing the wood to rot and mice had gotten into the rotting walls and were eating away in the insulation. A roof addition had been placed over the dog runs and simply nailed into the existing roof, directly through the shingles, allowing water to get into the existing roof of the shelter and causing it to rot away as well.
In 2015 the City Council decided it was time to build a new shelter and began the process of talking about where to place it and how to afford it. In the mean time, the existing shelter was falling apart, so the state came in and said, we’re going to push you to do something.
While conversations in the Council have continued about the costs of a new shelter, the violations of the existing shelter by the State have caused repairs to become immediately necessary.
Repairs began to take shape in the past couple of months with city employee, Huston Jack taking on much of the rehabilitation work. According to Turner, as the old walls were pulled out, more and more rot was discovered. The decision was made to go back in and replace it with concrete blocks and mortar, making it more substantial and able to withstand the wear of animals and daily wash downs with water.
Turner believes the repairs will extend the life of the addition of the building at least another five years, allowing the city time to figure out funding for a new shelter.
During the discussions both in council meetings and in social media surrounding the animal shelter, a lot of information has been passed around, including the needs of the shelter.
Turner said once the repairs are complete, the shelter will once again be in compliance with the state regulations, but if she had a wish list for a shelter, it would be to have a separate ventilation system to isolate sick animals from the healthy ones and to have a better area to house stray cats.
Turner said she believes the size of the animal shelter for dogs is perfect for a city of Cameron’s size – there are twelve runs and Turner says, if there are more runs, they will be full, it is simply the nature of a shelter.
During 2016 - 307 dogs were picked up by the Cameron Animal Shelter with 89 returned to their owners, 165 dogs adopted, 50 dogs transferred, 12 dogs euthanized – a number which includes aggressive, sick, or newborns that did not survive, and one dog was dead before pick up. In the same year 85 cats were picked up, six were returned to their owners, 2 adopted, 43 transferred, 23 euthanized – which includes feral cats, and six cats were dead before pick up.
From January to July in 2017 – 179 dogs were picked up, 76 returned, 71 adopted, 26 transferred, three euthanized – one of which had a brain tumor, and one was dead before pickup. Cats during the same time frame include 39 picked up, six returned, two adopted, 18 transferred, 11 euthanized (all feral), and three were dead before pick up.
The numbers do not absolutely add up, according to Turner because there are always dogs in the shelter and there are at least 40 dogs in the Puppies for Parole program in the Cameron prison system.
Turner also said the Cameron shelter has an agreement with Wayside Waifs, where they will take some of the cats from the Cameron shelter in exchange for Cameron taking dogs to place in the Puppies for Parole program at the prison.
The Puppies for Parole program takes dogs who are unwanted and may have been in prospects of being euthanized for one reason or another and gives them the opportunity at a new leash on life with training and care given by prisoners, then offered for adoption to the general public.
The Cameron Animal Shelter has also recently begun a spay, neuter and release program for cats, where they capture cats, spay or neuter them and then release them back into the community where they were found. The hope is eventually this will lessen the number of stray and feral cats by helping to control their numbers.