City to fund repairs to animal service center, but assessment finds facility in need of replacement

Over the next five years, the city plans to spend more than $ 3.4 million on repairs to the Animal Service Center, despite an independent assessment that found the Easterwood Drive facility in need of replacement.

It comes as the center is experiencing its highest number of adoptable animals in two years and is at full capacity. There are currently 195 animals housed at the center. Inside there are 110 dog kennels and 84 cat kennels.

Document: See the Animal Arts Needs Assessment for the Tallahassee Animal Service Center

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Animal Service Center located on Easterwood Drive

Completed in January, the study by Animal Arts, a Colorado-based company that focuses on animal shelter architectural design, revealed a number of issues that contribute to an unsanitary environment that, if it were improved, could not only ensure better animal health but contribute to a better experience for potential adopters.

Kate MacFall, director of The Humane Society in Florida, thanked commissioners for including the funding in their upcoming budgets, but called for allocations to be accelerated.

“There is a very urgent need for these updates and renovations to animal services… for the healthy welfare of the animals but also for the staff of the shelter,” she said.

Although the project has not yet been launched, funding is under consideration for the Animal Service Center through the Intergovernmental Agency Blueprint.

Tier 1 upgrades, considered a priority instead of building a whole new facility, include upgrading the kennel’s plumbing drains, removing chain link fences and guillotine doors, and replacing them with individual kennels. stainless steel, adding lighting in walkways where potential adopters walk and for cleaning and painting the walls and ceilings of the facility.

In addition, the company recommends expanding the medical facility at the shelter, which it has deemed “absurdly undersized” and two outdoor yards for quarantined dogs.

“We are providing a list of renovations that we believe will provide the best value to staff and animals in the short term, and create a more hygienic, functional and less maintenance environment, while improving some aesthetic aspects,” said Animal Arts officials. written in his report.

Level 2 upgrades focus on building a new community outreach center and renovating the cat adoption area, which includes outdoor spaces called ‘catios’.

A new community outreach center could serve to reduce the number of animals entering shelters each year by providing space for proactive services such as spaying and neutering programs as well as veterinary services, which are lacking. one of the main causes of animals delivered to shelters. .

In total, the Animal Arts study found that about $ 2.97 million in renovations could accomplish the changes and allow the shelter to function better without the city having to build a new facility.

The establishment is jointly managed by the city and the department.

In 2023, the city spent $ 1.41 million on CSA upgrades. By 2026, more than $ 3.48 million in funding from the City of Tallahassee is expected to be spent on improvements. In its budget talks, the county has allocated $ 31,633 in funding next year, but has traditionally allocated $ 75,000 per year for capital improvements and maintenance while supporting 45% of operating costs.

Contact Karl Etters at [email protected] or @KarlEtters on Twitter.

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