For the Animal Control Advisory Board, 2013 might be a year remembered for the upheaval at so many meetings. There were protests over the former animal services director for much of the first half of the year and palpable frustration from board members about whether a new animal shelter would ever get built for the second half.
But the year ended with news that Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan had selected Deer Lick Park as the site for the new animal shelter.
So when the ACAB held its first meeting of 2014 on Wednesday, things almost seemed mundane with all of the issues from the previous year in the rearview mirror.
District 3 Commissioner Mike Mulcare, a longtime advocate for building a new shelter, was at the meeting with his wife Peg. Mulcare talked about the new shelter and answered a few questions before taking his wife to dinner to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary.
Mulcare told the animal board he wants a new shelter that is not only humane for the animals but also the staff.
“The part of the equation we overlook so often is the staff,” Mulcare said. “The present shelter is not a pleasant place to work or visit.”
Mulcare also stressed the value of volunteers, pointing out he’d like to see a new shelter where there’s a waiting list to volunteer.
And he talked some about the cat and dog bonding areas he’d like to see where people could play with dog or cat to see if it might be a good fit.
But as the county moves forward with hiring a design team to determine things like the exact spot of the new shelter on the property at Deer Lick, he said it’s important for everyone to manage expectations.
To that effect, Mulcare said he’s already reserved a Facebook page related to the new Douglas County Animal Shelter where pictures and information about the progress can be shared.
Douglas County Director of Purchasing and Animal Services Bill Peacock said that during the recent cold spell all of the animals were moved inside because there was available space, which was welcome news to the board.
Douglas County Animal Control and Shelter Manager Frances McMillan said there are currently 30 cats and 61 dogs at the shelter. The cat number is lower than usual because Peacock said many have been rescued and “cat season is over.”
In addition to making progress on getting a new shelter built, Peacock said four new kennel technicians and two animal control officers have been hired thanks to more funding from the BOC in the 2014 budget.
Those new employees are scheduled to start work Jan. 21.
McMillan she hopes the extra staff will allow time for pictures to be taken of every dog and cat up for adoption that can be posted to the Douglas County Animal Shetler’s Facebook page to help spur more adoptions.