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Council Weighs Options on New Animal Shelter

 

Former LAST Shelter off Hwy 50

 

The Lamar Animal Shelter on CR EE.5 off Memorial Drive has seen considerable improvements over the past several years, but its future at that site is limited for what it can provide to local residents. It’s a small facility and can handle only 14 dogs and no cats and it is adjacent to the southeast corner of Fairmount Cemetery, in an area that will soon see cemetery expansion.

Animal Shelter at CR EE.5 During a Pet Day Event

Last November, the council reviewed the options of taking over Last; Last Animal Sanctuary Team and property located adjacent to the south Port of Entry off Highway 50. The property the shelter resides on is owned by the Shinn Family and the Stanley Trust owns the facility.   The Sanctuary has been closed for over a year.  It is larger and offers more amenities that the current city shelter near the cemetery.  While the former Sanctuary only has 10 kennels, the city would consider expanding the 40 by 50 foot facility which does offer a kitchen, a reception area and storage space, which the current shelter does not have.  During the November work session, City Administrator, John Sutherland, said some grant funding could become available from the Animal Assistance Foundation as well as the Stanley Trust and put a rough estimate of $150,000 to cover the expansion costs.

Attorney Wendy Shinn, current Trustee of the Maggie Stanley Trust, recently submitted a letter of particulars for the council to review. Both the Shinn Family and the Stanley Trust are suggesting gifting the facility to the city of Lamar as well as the property.  The agreement would be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.

The city would conduct a survey of the road leading to the facility from Highway 50 and a limited easement would spell out how much land would be involved; only appropriate city employees would have access on the road because a portion of the land is a working farm and the city would also maintain that stretch of roadway. The city would also assume the facility on an ‘as is-/where is’ basis and the city would provide liability insurance safeguards on suits against the Shinn family.

City Attorney, Garth Neischburg, developed a proposal from the city for consideration which does meet some of those points, but as City Administrator, John Sutherland, pointed out on Monday, some areas need review such as the restrictions of visitors. Sutherland stated that it would be difficult to operate the shelter under the restrictions to current shelter volunteers who work with Stephanie Strube as well as pet owners who are searching for their lost dogs or perhaps, volunteering one for adoption.  That type of stipulation would be hard to control.  Councilman, Kirk Crespin asked if, by becoming a city operated property, the shelter would be obligated to remain open to the public.

The cost of expansion was also considered as Sutherland stated that doubling the size of the facility, at an average of $125 per square foot, would run to around $250,000 which would require grant funding, if that met with the Trust’s approval. Neischburg said he’d be in contact with the Shinn family for their thoughts and report back to the council.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarFeaturedPublic Safety

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