By Carol Mowdy Bond
The lobby was jam-packed on Friday, Jan. 24 at the City of Yukon’s new animal control facility, 701 Inla Ave., Unit A.
City officials, those contracted to build the structure, and well-wishers were present at 4 p.m. when Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby began the event.
“We’ve had a lot of problems with the old animal shelter,” Crosby said. “We hired an architect and engineer who did a great job on this new facility. We wouldn’t have it without the city council. They were behind it 100%.”
Walt Joyce, senior project architect with Triad Design Group; and Rod Smith, owner of Landmark Construction Group, were both on hand when Crosby introduced them and thanked them for their work.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to upgrade for the City of Yukon, and very grateful to city officials and citizens for trusting us to do this and make it successful,” new shelter supervisor Kelly Robichaud said.
“Animal control officer Terry Wansgard is still with us, and he has 30 years of experience. Prior to now, we’ve only had two people working in the old facility. But we’ve hired a new staff. Sara Burton, Tate Perez, and Shali Lynch are all part-time animal control techs. Ethan Combs is our full-time animal control attendant.”
One of the first things Robichard wants to get started is a volunteer program.
Volunteers are needed for: Event planning, data entry, fundraising, organization, cleaning dog runs and cat cages, walking dogs, playing with cats, bathing dogs and cats, doing laundry, doing dishes, and cleaning the facility.
PetSmart of Yukon donated at least 30 stuffed animals, plus treats and dog toys for the animals.
A new computer software system – Ark7 – better allows staffers to keep accurate records of each animal that enters the facility, and keep track of adoptions, impounds, and more.
The software retains microchip, veterinarian and owner information, as well as photos and previous contacts with the animal shelter.
Robichaud discussed her background and future.
“I earned a Bachelor of Technology in Emergency Responder Administration,” she said. “I was Yukon’s deputy court clerk for 5-1/2 years, and prior to that I was a police officer. I was a supervisor when I was a police officer, so that experience lends itself to supervise the staff here and also the animal control officers.
“I received a scholarship from the Maddie Fund, and I have been working through an on-line program toward a certificate for a shelter management program through the University of the Pacific.”
CUTTING THE RIBBON
Mayor Mike McEachern marked the facility’s opening by officially cutting the red ribbon. Following that, McEachern, Yukon City Council members, and facility staffers transferred a few leashed puppers from their old facility to their new homes.
Other guests enjoyed a snack buffet, chatted, and toured the spic-and-spaniel facility.
McEachern described this as a “wonderful opportunity for us to move forward with our animals. It’s important to provide really good facilities for animal control to place pets properly, and citizens to have a place to adopt properly.”
On Monday, Jan. 27, staff moved all animals from the old shelter to the new 12,000 square foot facility, which opened that same day. Guests enter through the front-glass doors and are greeted by staff. A large, modern lobby area has comfy seating.
Consisting of 40 dog runs and 86 cat condos, with separate rooms for quarantined, stray hold, and court hold animals, the facility will also host adoptable cats and dogs, and has separate “meet and greet” rooms for them.
There is a large, secure, concrete-floor, outdoor area to give animals plenty of room for exercise.
A new washer and dryer are in place, as well as a kitchen area for washing pet bowls and supplies. An employee lounge and a garage are great additions to the facility.
“This is beautiful,” Yukon Police Chief John Corn said. “One of the premiere animal control facilities in the state. We’ve built one that will sustain Yukon for many, many years. It’s designed according to the new standards for animal welfare. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Maj. Matt Fairchild, head of the Yukon Police animal division, said officials are excited about the new building and the opportunity to help animals.
“This is a more welcoming place for the public, and it’s better for the animals,” Fairchild said.
Yukon Emergency Management Director Donnie Robinson called the new facility “outstanding.”
“One more bit of progress for our citizens to have top-notch animal control,” Robinson said. “How the animals are taken care of. It doesn’t get any better than this. If a tornado comes through, this is a great place to come find your displaced pets.
“This is going to be outstanding. It has an all-concrete block infrastructure that is sound and will withstand some tornadoes pretty well. There was an outstanding thought process in engineering that designed and built this building.”
Ward 2 City Council member Shelli Selby also bragged on Yukon’s new animal control facility.
“This is going to be a wonderful place for animals, and for people to see and experience and adopt animals, and to go home happy with a new pet,” Selby said. “It’s a place to adopt, in a healthy environment.
“Hopefully the animals won’t have to stay here too long because they will quickly be adopted. I’m hoping we can get a Facebook page started soon, so people can see the animals we have available, to help expedite the adoption process.”
At-Large City Council Member Jeff Wootton said this is a wonderful opportunity for Yukon.
“This facility is state of the art,” Wootton said. “It’s great to be fortunate enough to build something like this for our animals. I’m excited.”
Yukon animal shelter hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shelter is closed on Sundays.
To report a pet missing, visit the Animal Control web page on the City of Yukon’s web site: http://www.yukonok.gov
To claim a found pet, visit the animal control facility. There is a fee to pick up found pets.
For more information, call the shelter at 350-4PETS (4738).