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Grant approval sets ‘aggressive schedule’ for animal shelter

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By Dave Taylor

The approval of a state grant for $150,000 for the animal shelter proposed jointly by the fiscal courts of both Trimble and Henry counties has put the project on the fast track toward completion within three months.

Trimble and Henry counties were recently awarded a $150,000 grant through the Animal Control Advisory Board, a division of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

“I do have a verbal approval of that grant,” Stevens said during Monday’s meeting of Trimble County Fiscal Court. “We haven’t received the official letter yet.”

Chris Cottongim, of the Louisville architectural firm 5253 Design Group, presented preliminary architectural drawings of the new facility during the meeting. Also present at the meeting were Dan Flinkfelt, Animal Control Officer currently serving both Henry and Trimble counties, and Roger Hartlage, Henry County District 2 Magistrate.

“We have an aggressive schedule,” Cottongim said. “We’re going to try to finish the drawings by Oct. 10 and we’re going to receive bids on Thursday, Oct. 22. We’re going to hopefully be in this building if everything goes right by Jan. 11, 2012. We’ll do the best we can. The construction budget to date is around $217,000. The overall total scope budget is about $275,000.”

“Now we can mash the gas,” Stevens said.

“When I saw the aggressive schedule I was pleased,” Hartlage said, “because the agreement between Henry County and Trimble County expires Dec. 31.”

Trimble and Henry county government members have been working together since early summer on a joint plan to provide dog control, sheltering and disposal for their respective counties. The Kentucky Humane Society in January informed the two counties that, effective June 30, they would not be renewing contracts to provide those services.

Trimble County purchased two acres of land near the Valley View Landfill for the purpose of constructing a new animal shelter.

Trimble County Fiscal Court voted in June to enter a six-month mutual agreement with Henry County for Henry to provide enforcement of Trimble’s animal ordinances, sheltering services and disposal. The contract, effective July 1 through Dec. 31, 2011, provides for animal strays to be impounded at a facility in Eminence.

“What we have is a 2,144 sq ft facility, slab on grade,” Cottongim said. “It’s a pretty nice site right across from the landfill. We’re going to have to go with a septic system because there are no sewers out there. It is a concrete block building due to the moist nature of it” due to animal waste. “It’s a spray down kind of a situation. We’ll have epoxy paint on it and get a good finish on all of it so it’s easy to clean.”

The facility will consist of an entry with a small waiting room and receptionist area, one restroom, a director’s office, a quarantine room, a veterinary office, a kitten room, a puppy room and 32 kennels—16 interior kennels and 16 exterior kennels. Also included is a fenced-in, sally port area, Cottongim said.

“It’s a very cost-effective building,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a fine facility,” Stevens said. “This should accommodate our needs for quite a while down the road. We were very fortunate to get this grant. It was a competitive grant situation.”

“I think it’s something that both counties can be proud of,” Magistrate Nolan Hamilton, Jr., said.

Flinkfelt said the Eminence facility currently being used by the two counties has 15 kennels, which are all indoor kennels. During the past two-and-a-half months “we’ve taken in 129 animals for a 15-bay shelter,” he said. “We’ve taken in 65 owner surrenders, three cruelty cases and 61 strays. We’ve been able to adopt out 29. We had to euthanize 13. Most of those were due to aggression and owner requests to have euthanized. We’ve returned to owners 17 out of 61 strays. Right now we have 20 at the shelter.

“A good thing about having inside/outside kennels is you can double your occupancy rate also,” Flinkfelt said. “That’s another reason we did it this way and not just for cleaning standards.”