Animal shelter almost complete

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By Calen McKinney

 It’s barking room only at the Taylor County Animal Shelter. But that will soon change.

In three to four weeks, the shelter’s new building will officially open and give staff members many more cages to house animals in need of new homes.

The new building, built just up the hill from the current shelter, will have a reception area, an office, a kitchen and laundry area, rooms to house animals and inside and outside large animal cages.

Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris says the current shelter, which was built in 1986, offers 76 inside and 86 outside dog cages and an area with 19 cages to house cats.

Harris said the shelter provides a home to about 125 animals each day.

“Just constantly full,” he said. “It’s old and outdated.”

There have been two expansions since Harris came on board in 1999.

The shelter’s last expansion, he said, was completed in 2004 and added more than 60 cages to help with overcrowding.

The shelter now houses animals from Taylor, Green, LaRue, Casey, Russell and LaRue counties.

The new shelter building will add 22 puppy cages, 22 cat cages, a space to house kittens and an outside run of cages that can be divided for more room.

Harris said the shelter applied for a grant last year to build a new shelter so staff members could have more room to house animals ready for adoption.

After receiving a $150,000 grant, work began in May on the new shelter. Harris said there have been a few delays in the project, from coordinating construction schedules to working with local governmental workers to provide in-kind labor.

Harris said he appreciates all of those who pitched in to complete the project, from city and county workers to Campbellsville/Taylor County Housing Authority staff members.

“That shows we saved a bunch of money in doing [some of] the labor ourselves.”

After the $150,000 grant was used, Harris said, the county, which provides funding for the shelter, has pitched in between $10,000 and $15,000 to cover the cost.

Harris said several housekeeping items are left to complete at the new building, from installing doors to pouring some more concrete and cleaning. All plumbing and electrical work has been completed. Inspections must also be completed before the new shelter can open its doors.

Harris said the drain and ventilation systems at the new building are much more efficient than the current ones.

“We’re ready to get in there,” he said.

All animals ready for adoption will be housed in the new building. The current shelter will house animals just coming into the shelter in a quarantine area for five to 10 days. Harris said this will help staff members keep diseases from spreading.

“We can catch it down here before it goes in the new building,” he said.

The new shelter will have newer equipment, complete with cages with trays that pull out for quick cleaning. “It’s easier to clean and it’s safer for the animals,” he said.

Security cameras and an alarm system will also be installed at the new building, Harris said, in an attempt to prevent vandalism. The shelter has in the past had vandals steal its computers and damage some of its equipment.

Since cameras and alarms were installed at the current shelter, Harris said, there have been no instances of vandalism.

Harris said adoption rates are up and euthanasia rates are down at the shelter, trends he says he hopes will continue at the new building.

He said the shelter has recently begun recording its records online and maintains adoption information and a listing of animals available for adoption on its website at www.taylorcounty.us/county-government/animal-shelter.html.

Adoptions cost $100 and include a microchip, parvo and rabies shots, de-wormer, a basic exam, spay or neuter and 30 days of insurance.

In addition to Harris, the shelter employs three full-time staff members. Harris said community service workers also pitch in. Inmates are no longer used at the shelter.