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Contractor Tony Walker told Trimble County Fiscal Court on Monday, June 18, that the new animal shelter being built on Sulphur Road should be “100 percent complete” by Friday, June 29.
“I feel confident about what I’ve left the counties with,” Walker said. Walker was hired by Trimble County to build the facility after bids from contractors for the project came in far above the $250,000 available from Trimble and Henry counties, which includes a $150,000 state grant.
Judge-Executive Randy Stevens said the shelter will be Walker’s legacy, and said the total costs have yet to be finalized.
“It’s not a cheap building, but it’s a fine, fine facility,” Stevens said, adding that he hopes to present the final budget for the project to some of the contractors who had bid on it. Bids ranged from $350,000 to nearly $600,000 for the 2,100-square-foot cement-block building.
“I’d like to show them the reality, that [their bids] truly were unaffordable,” Stevens said, adding he anticipates the final cost to be about half of what had been estimated by bidders.
Cost of the facility is being shared with Henry County, which has been operating a shelter for both counties in Eminence. That shelter formerly was operated by the Kentucky Humane Society, which ended its contracts for providing animal control services to Trimble and Henry counties last year. Henry County took over operations of the shelter in July 2011.
Trimble will be hiring an additional full-time animal control officer and a part-time assistant to help operate the new facility, once it’s open.
Henry County Animal Control Officer Dan Flinkfelt said he plans to have a grand opening, so that residents of both counties can come see the facility.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
Stevens said the new facility is a far cry from the “grim times” that he and Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent inherited when they took office in 2003, shortly after it was made public that the Henry County dog catcher, at the time, had been shooting dogs rather than euthanizing them humanely.
“There have been real success stories out of dire circumstances. ... This was a group effort, and everyone should take pride in it,” Stevens said. But, he predicted that the grand opening of the shelter “probably won’t get TV coverage, because it’s good news.”
Flinkfelt thanked the court for Trimble County’s support, and also praised Rita Davis, of Bedford, who helps coordinate the county’s spay/neuter clinics, and County Attorney Perry Arnold, who has helped prosecute cruelty cases.
Flinkfelt said that in the past year, the shelter has taken in about 823 animals – 200-250 from Trimble County. Of the total, 200 have been adopted out and 623 have been sent to rescue organizations that will find permanent homes for them.
“That’s a 10 percent euthanasia rate, which is one of the lowest in the state,” he said.
A date has not yet been scheduled for the shelter grand opening.