County agrees to convey land for animal shelter
Now the question is whre that shelter will be locatedCrook County is willing to convey a parcel of land to the Humane Society of the Ochocos, but now, it's just a question of where that land will be.
In a meeting of the Crook County Court on Wednesday, County Counsel Dave Gordon brought up the fact that the original site selected by Humane Society Board President Greg Lynch - a six-acre parcel located on the northeast corner of Tom McCall Road and Ochoco Highway - is involved in part of a county-adopted transportation plan.
"There is a long-term plan to have Millican Road shifted over to Tom McCall Road, and there would be a grade-separated interchange at that location," Gordon said.
A committee made up of Lynch, Commissioner Mike McCabe, County Planner Heidi Bauer and Airport Commission member Frank Porfily was formed to try to determine the best location for a new shelter on the wide swath of county-owned land near the airport.
Lynch conveyed that the Humane Society has "absolutely no expectation" that the county will finance a new shelter, and said support for funding has already been overwhelming.
The Humane Society also plans to keep the current shelter once a new one is built, mostly for overflow purposes and to accommodate whatever impacts arise from the addition of an animal control officer.
"We really don't feel like we need to sell it. In terms of our mission and responsibility to this community, we don't want to sell it," Lynch said. "We would be operating those two facilities."
Lynch estimated that the new shelter would require a five-acre site and would be around 10,000 square feet or more. He cited his belief in the county's continuing growth as a reason for needing such a large building.
"This county was the fastest-growing county in the state, and it's going to happen again because it's a wonderful place to live," he said. "With that growth, and with the animal control officer, we're going to be asked to do considerably more that what we've already been doing. And we are willing and happy to do that."
He mentioned that a key feature of a new facility, besides the monumental increase in space, would be visibility and attractiveness to potential adopters.
"We don't have the facility that we need to attract people to adopt these animals," he said. "People don't want to go into a pound. It's depressing. The staff works hard to keep it clean and presentable, but it's not a place where a family is going to go to feel comfortable adopting an animal."
The new shelter will adhere to the Humane Society's no-kill policy, which has been in effect for the last two years. In this time period, Lynch said the shelter went from a 66 percent euthanization rate to a 97.5 percent adoption rate. He also bought up that the SNIP (Spay Neuter Investment Project) has drastically reduced the number of admissions to the shelter.
Crook County Judge Scott Cooper avowed his support of the Humane Society's mission and stated that the organization's taking in of animals at no charge has been a "huge gift to the county."
"We've got 3,000 acres up there under county ownership," Cooper said. "Surely we could find the place to put this. I don't have any problem conveying the land to you.To me it's just a question of where - how much you need and where to put it -and we'll get it cited."