County closer to finalizing plans for animal shelter
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 07, 2014 | 1201 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker County’s new animal shelter will be twice as large as the current facility and will have a price tag of around $250,000, according to details discussed at Monday’s Walker County Commission meeting.

Engineer Mike Short said the plan for approximately 3,000 square feet and 22 holding cells seems to be the most feasible for the county to construct at this time.

“It will have a very nice office space and room for the staff to work in a clean environment that hopefully could be maintained in that matter as the years go on,” Short said.

Short said there also would be room for future expansion at the proposed site near the county landfill.

Attorney Eddie Jackson said tentative talks are ongoing with Jasper officials concerning the city’s participation.

The same state statute that requires the county to provide a suitable pound obligates the city to either maintain its own shelter or contribute to the county pound because Jasper’s population exceeds 5,000.

Smaller municipalities that intend to enforce leash laws would also be expected to contract with the county, according to Jackson.

“If they take them in, they’ve got some responsibility for getting them to us and working out a way to pay for it,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that the cost of caring for a single animal is expected to be in the range of $40 to $60.

Commissioner Dan Wright said one of his constituents recently asked him about what role, if any, the Walker County Humane Society will play in the operation of the new shelter.

Two years ago, the low nonprofit shut down the shelter citing a deficiency in funding and turned operations over to the county.

Jackson said the line of communication is open between the two parties, and he anticipated that members of the Humane Society could help with animal adoptions and fundraising.

During the meeting, citizen Bill Cleghorn chastised commissioners for not taking larger animals such as cows and horses into consideration.

Wright said landowners are responsible for taking care of their own herds.

“We have a facility that is giving these animals a little bit longer to hopefully be adopted, but as far as telling the public that we’re going to take any animal that you don’t want anymore, we can’t take horses and things like that,” Wright said.

Commissioner Keith Davis said adoptions are a key part of the plan for the new county animal shelter.

“Having a facility where folks can come, walk around and adopt pets is the whole reason for this shelter,” Davis said.

Commissioners voted Monday to allow chairman Billy Luster to accept bids to move gates at the landfill so the site for the animal shelter would be ready for construction to begin as soon as possible.

Davis said he would like to see the bids for the shelter project be let as soon as consultant Dr. Jeremiah Alexander, a local veterinarian, submits his comments on the final plan.