Town targets summer 2012 for new animal shelter | SierraSun.com

Town targets summer 2012 for new animal shelter

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunA dog waits for adoption at the kennel, shared by the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe and town of Truckee animal services department.

TRUCKEE and#8212; Showing faith in ongoing fundraising efforts, town officials have targeted summer 2012 for possible construction of a $5 million animal shelter to serve the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe and the town’s Animal Services Department.

The shelter’s costs will be divided equally between the town and the Humane Society, said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook, and is part of 6-7 years of discussion and planning.

On Nov. 17, town council authorized staff to pay half of the $85,100 needed to update design plans, due to new state building requirements, and to pursue construction of an animal shelter for summer 2012, pending final fundraising by the Humane Society.

Once bids are opened in May 2012, the town estimates 16 months to construct the shelter.

and#8220;I think the action was a confirmation of our confidence in them (to raise the remaining funding),and#8221; said Lashbrook. and#8220;That was a pretty big decision.and#8221;

Stephanie Jensen, executive director of the Humane Society, said town council’s approval and#8212; and staff’s recommendation to go forward and#8212; is evidence of the society’s dedicated volunteers and the community’s donors.

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and#8220;We’ve proved that we’re meeting our end of the bargain,and#8221; said Jensen.

The shelter, which would be located at the town’s Corporation Yard Project site in Truckee’s downtown area, is desperately needed, Jensen said. The current kennel and#8212; which HSTT shares with the town’s Animal Services Department and#8212; only holds eight dogs and 30 cats, despite an average of 30 dogs and 80 cats that require such a facility, animals that instead must be housed and cared for by volunteers.

Due to the kennel’s limitations, Jensen said adoption services to the public are open for only two hours a week, noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Further, Jensen said the cramped quarters of current facilities have spurred aggression and fights among dogs and stress-induced illnesses among cats.

and#8220;For us, (a new shelter) really means everything to the homeless pets in our community,and#8221; Jensen said.

According to the Humane Society’s fundraising campaign records, $1.8 million has been generated since 2005. The society projects roughly $2.3 million will be in hand by March 2012, when the town must decide whether or not to put the project out to bid.

Despite the anticipated $200,000 shortfall, Jensen said construction will likely cost less than the projected $5 million.

If costs are not less, according to a town staff recommendation to council, funds could still be generated by the Humane Society, as construction payments will be staggered over the building period.

Should funding by the Humane Society be significantly inadequate, the project could be delayed until summer of 2013; however, that’s not ideal, officials said, as it could increase construction and design costs due to possible alterations that would likely be needed to meet building standards.

Jensen said she doesn’t anticipate any delays and is and#8220;extremely optimisticand#8221; the funding will be secured.

and#8220;We’re relying on the community to raise the rest of the money,and#8221; Jensen said.