By Erik Jackson
After nearly two years of planning and construction, the City of Yukon is now ready to open its new animal shelter on North Inla.
City manager Jim Crosby says he is ecstatic to see a shared vision become reality.
“The old building is in very poor condition, and it will eventually be demolished,” Crosby said. “Getting a new facility has been a goal for many years, and we’re very happy to see that mission fulfilled. It is a beautiful building, one of the nicest owned by the City.”
Crosby said that the final pieces were put in place within the last week.
“It’s great for the city, and though we hoped to be in sooner, we’re elated that we’ll be moving in by the end of the month,” Crosby said. “We had our final walk-through last Thursday, and final approval came at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“We’ll begin moving in furniture, computer equipment, washers and dryers, refrigerators, and other items pretty quickly. The goal is to get animals in shortly thereafter.”
An open house is set for 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at the new animal shelter. Members of the city council will get a preview of the campus one day prior.
“The open house will enable the public to tour the facility without animals present,” Yukon’s city manager said. “We want them to see the campus free of barking and in pristine condition. We look forward to seeing everyone and their reaction, as the building is stellar.”
Located directly east of the former shelter, the new facility’s layout will enable the City of Yukon to house a substantially larger animal population.
“It’s all based on the size of the animals, but we expect to be able to accommodate double the number of dogs compared with the previous shelter,” Crosby said. “We’re probably looking at two to three times the number of cats as well. It’s something that’s been needed for quite some time, and we are so pleased that we now have a shelter that meets our needs.”
WORKING WITH PETS & PEOPLE
The City of Yukon will operate the shelter, but it will continue to work with Pets and People humane society. The City and Pets and People have shared space inside the animal shelter for more than 20 years.
“This is our shelter, and we will be in charge of its operation,” Crosby said. “However, we will be working with Pets and People, and they will begin sending animals shortly after the grand opening.”
Protocol will change in terms of how animals enter the facility.
“All animals will be registered and examined upon arrival,” Crosby said. “We will keep them in isolation initially, and they will then be integrated with other animals once we determine that they are healthy.
“We will also be able to limit the number of cats per cage, as that was an issue at the old shelter. It’s going to be completely different, and we feel it will spur higher numbers for adoption. The public will be very impressed when they see how it turned out.”
Pets and People will soon break ground on a 4,500 square foot rescue center that will be built on property it owns west of the animal shelter. The organization is launching a $600,000 capital campaign to fund construction of its own facility.