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Pima County Board of Supervisors approves emergency funding for animal shelter expansion, additional staff

Nov 05, 2013 | Read More News
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The Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved allocating more than $400,000 to deal with immediate, emergency overcrowding at the animal shelter. none

With the shelter caring for more than 22,000 animals year in and year out, additional space will reduce stress on pets and keep them healthier while they’re waiting for homes.

With some kennels housing four or more pets, the Board authorized an estimated $280,000 to install a tent facility, which includes a concrete slab, utilities, supplies and the construction of kennels to expand capacity at the shelter by 50 percent.

The Board vote, accompanied by applause and cheers from volunteers in the audience, also authorized $242,000 in additional staffing to accommodate ongoing needs as the shelter continues to save more pets.

“This is an emergency solution, but we should have no illusions about this being a satisfactory solution,” said Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías. “It needs to be a springboard to a larger discussion about how to improve animal care in the future.”

Ultimately, while there are plans to seek bond funding for future shelter investments, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said addressing the real root of the problem will require increasing spay/neuter capacity.

He lauded the action of Oro Valley, which last week announced it would mirror Pima County’s practice of dedicating a portion of its dog licensing fees to expand spay/neuter funding. He said the County will ask its other neighboring jurisdictions to follow Oro Valley’s lead.

The tent will have electricity, running water and heating/cooling and is expected to be operational within a few months.