Animal Shelter Plans Presented Ahead of Vote

Dec 5, 2017

The county also promoted its dog-licensing program on Tuesday with larger-than-life canine cutouts.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo County’s animal control department, which hopes to break ground on a new shelter this winter, has shared details of its building plans with the Kalamazoo County Board. Commissioners are expected to vote on whether to approve the $4.7 million proposal at their Dec. 19 meeting.

The plan would replace the county’s aging, approximately 6600 sq. ft. animal control facility with a new building of up to 15,000 sq. ft. that would include an adoption wing and updated quarters for animal control.

Animal Services and Enforcement has long said that its current building promotes disease and stress among the animals it houses, and that it makes adopting pets unnecessarily complicated. The new building would separate sick animals from healthy ones and would control airflow so as not to spread disease.

It would also separate adoptable animals from strays held by the county, so prospective pet owners do not have to guess at which animals are available.

The dogs would have exercise grounds and cats that get along with each other would live in shared rooms rather than cages. The shelter would have spaces where visitors could visit with the animals.

Previous attempts to replace animal services’ building have stalled over 12-plus years. On Tuesday, Commissioner Tracy Hall was one of several board members who expressed support for the proposal now before the commission.

“If I’m thinking about adopting a dog, I can go in and have it in that room and kind of get that home feel or maybe take it for a walk outside. I think all of that is positive,” Hall said.

But Commissioner Scott McGraw expressed skepticism about the cost.

“The size of this this building and the amount of money dedicated to it is concerning to me. Five million dollars is an awful lot of money on a budget,” he said.

McGraw suggested that the county find out whether local nonprofit animal-adoption groups could house some of the cats and dogs in its care.