By Jeff Harrison
A new animal shelter could be on the horizon in Midwest City.
City officials continue sketching out details and costs estimates for a new facility that they hope to include in an upcoming bond initiative. A bond package would include several capital improvement projects and require approval from voters.
A new animal shelter has been on the city’s radar for years. The current facility is too small and does not have proper kennel space or adoption area.
Animal Welfare Supervisor Adrian Sanders and city officials have researched other shelters in the metro and outlined needs for a new Midwest City facility. The city has also worked with a construction company to get cost estimates for a facility.
Sanders said he would like to see the city build a larger facility with separate areas for stray and adoptable animals and customer-friendly adoption area.
“Stray and adoptable animals should be kept in the separate areas with separate air flow,” Sanders said. “If an animal is sick and you don’t know it, you can put all of them at risk.”
The current animal shelter has 24 dog kennels and three cat kennels, which can hold about 20 cats. Shelter employees and volunteers work with local rescues to free up kennel space.
Sanders said he hopes to present cost estimates to city officials within the next few weeks. A bond initiative is expected to be presented to voters in spring.
The animal shelter has generated a lot of buzz at city hall over the past year. City officials originally planned to include a new shelter in bond proposal last fall. The project was scrapped from the list of bond projects, which generated outrage from animal advocates. The city council ultimately held off on the bond proposal and said they would reconsider a new animal shelter at a later date.
Discussions about the animal shelter also generated concerns about the city’s contracts with other municipalities for animal welfare services. Under the agreements, Midwest City provides space for animals from Choctaw, Harrah, Nicoma Park, Jones and Forest Park. Police Chief Brandon Clabes said the contracts do not cover the actual cost for the service. He said the city has been gradually increasing the rates in recent years, but is still losing money on the service.
Last summer, the city council voted to cancel the contracts, effective Dec. 30, and meet with the neighboring communities about the issue. Those talks included a proposed regional animal shelter that would be supported by all five municipalities.
Clabes said they scrapped plans for a regional shelter due to funding concerns. Midwest City returned its focus to a new animal shelter that could accommodate other municipalities. The city council continued the current contracts through July 1, the end of the fiscal year, and will raise the costs in July.1
“We had not been charging enough to cover expenses. We’re going to raises prices to cover the actual per animal costs,” Clabes said. “I’ve given them an idea of what the rate increase could be. The other cities are aware of that.”