Friendswood animal shelter getting a hard look
With 12 dogs, five cats, two guineas, two chickens, a goat, a lamb and an emu, the Friendswood animal control facility is a suburban zoo.
It's all located at an antiquated building at 1322 Deepwood Drive that is smaller than most houses. The 1,000-square-foot facility was built in 1989 and is so dilapidated that the state in July put it on six months' probation for eight violations.
The building is near Clear Creek and has flooded several times over the years.
We do need a new one," City Councilman Jim Hill said. I'm all for it. It's overdue. We've got money in the bank. We could pay for it. That's what we need to do."
A new animal control facility is among $58 million in projects in the city's five-year plan to be finished by 2014. The city estimates that a new facility would cost $1 million, but it remains to be seen how much of a priority it is on a list that also includes road, water, and drainage improvement projects.
Yet the first step toward a new animal control building could come at City Council's meeting at Monday, when the city's police department, which oversees animal control, will present a report on the existing facility, city spokesman Nick Haby said.
The report will include the priority of a new animal facility on the city's capital improvements plan, cost estimates to repair the existing facility and procedures for establishing a required advisory committee that the facility lacks, he said.
We need to do something about it," Mayor David Smith said.
The existing facility only has 12 kennels for dogs and nine kennels for cats, Haby said. That often causes crowding problems, said Craig Baker, the city's animal control supervisor.
It's a dilemma that will only get worse because the city is still approximately 15,000 residents short of its projected population build-out of 50,000, Haby said.
The growth of the city has a lot to do with the situation that we're in now," Baker said.
During the animal control facility's state inspection in July, the inspector noted that the building did not prevent the transmission of diseases, that its disposal facilities were not operated in a manner that minimizes disease hazards and that it created a health risk.
The inspector also noted the facility's kennels were not in good repair and were neither impervious to moisture nor readily sanitized. She also noted that the kennels do not allow animals to stay dry and that the facility lacked an advisory committee.
The building was also cited for its surfaces not being constructed of nonabsorbent materials that can be easily sanitized and for the floor not being made of durable, nonabsorbent material.
A state inspector was supposed to inspect the facility again on Jan. 20, but has not yet returned, and the facility remains on probation. The city has addressed some of the violations, but others like some of the sanitary problems can't be resolved because of the building's condition, he said.
They're reflective of the age of the building," Haby said.
Asked if the city feared that its animal control facility could be shut down by the state, Haby said, We just don't want to speculate right now."
Hill said he wants City Council to approve paying for a new animal control facility out of the city's approximately $3 million general fund reserve. He said he would like construction of a new 6,000-square foot building on a new site to start before the end of this year.
Let's just get it done," Hill said.
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