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Why is the animal shelter taking so long?

Staff Report • Oct 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

The Johnson City Animal Shelter’s intake of animals in September was the lowest in the past 15 years. Definitely good news, but it’s not a trend. That was the report for one month, and certainly not a sign the new shelter could be of a smaller design as a potential cost-saving measure. Wasn’t the point of the new shelter to have more space, giving the animals a better chance to be adopted?In 2012, a total of 7,723 animals came through the shelter. You’d have to go back to 1998 to go below that, at 7,613. In between, 2006 had the highest total, at 9,736. What trend do you see? That unaltered animals will reproduce over and over.Are we closer to a new shelter? It’s difficult to discern from what gets reported. One moment a few million dollars are in the bank, a few months later a chairperson has resigned and the money is non-existent. An architect is awarded $87,500 to design the new space. One year later he is told to “stand down” on the original design, and now a few months later, his plan may not even be sufficient. Board members may spend even more money on an expert, to troubleshoot the design. I don’t know who the well-paid consulting firm is speaking to, but I speak to regular people everyday. People aren’t confident about the progress being made on the shelter. Like me, they want to know why this is taking so long. They want to know exactly what $5,000 each month to a North Carolina-based firm is netting us, not just vague statements. Johnson City Manager Pete Peterson did say, “Don’t always believe what you read in the paper.”I believe what I see. And I see thousands of animals dying to move into their new shelter. Get it done.BRENDA S. FIELDENJohnson City

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