Animal shelter hopes to relocate
The Baldwin County Animal Shelter has plans to relocate to the old jail up the hill in the upcoming months.
Recently, the shelter received a cap from the state Department of Agriculture that limits how many animals can be in the building at one time: only 40 animals total, 20 cats and 20 dogs, can legally be in its current space. With this cap and only 17 dog kennels, three stainless steel puppy kennels and 10 stainless steel cat kennels, the shelter is frequently at maximum capacity.
In the new space, however, the new shelter will hopefully be able to combat this overpopulation. Rebecca Lanier, the shelter administrator, has big plans for the new space. In addition to space for 30 new kennels, this new shelter will have different rooms.
On the side designated for animal control, there will be a quarantine room for new animals or aggressive dogs as well as grooming and medical areas. In the adoptable center, there will be a free-roam cat room and space for adoptable dogs along with, if space allows, two meet-and-greet rooms.
“It could be really something if it goes according to plan,” Lanier said.
In 2018, the Baldwin County Animal Shelter had an approved Baldwin County budget of $195,700. The majority of these funds went to salaries, group insurance and retirement.
For 2019, the funds have increased to $218,700, but the increase has been allocated to full-time and part-time employees’ salaries, social security and retirement. The shelter mainly relies on public donations for cleaning and pet supplies, such as cat litter, dog food and cat food.
After July 1, 2019 the city of Milledgeville will be responsible for funding animal control services, instead of Baldwin County.
“We still do not know what will happen,” said Baldwin county manager Carlos Tobar. “We are prohibited by law to provide service in the city after July 1 if we have not reached agreement on Service Delivery.”
Tobar said his top priority is to keep property taxes as low as possible in addition to protecting Baldwin County residents from violent animals.
“$220,000 is the max we can spend [on the new shelter],” Tobar said. “We will have a better idea on cost estimates in the coming weeks.”
Additionally, Tobar wants to see an increase of educated pet owners in Milledgeville.
“Reducing the number of animals euthanized falls on animal owners,” Tobar said. “Animal owners need to be responsible. We can educate the public. We certainly want to see that happen. We hope groups in Baldwin County will focus on education.”
GC students who want to help the Baldwin County Animal Shelter can get involved with Shelter Buddies. After attending a yearly training session, club members are free to walk dogs and play with cats during shelter hours.
Shelter Buddies’ work also includes raising funds for sick animals, with most of their fundraising efforts go towards animals’ medical funds and vaccines. Some of Shelter Buddies’ most successful fundraising events have been its concerts Woofstock and Jingle Paws.
“We also like to do other [fundraising events] where people get some kind of satisfaction out of it,” said Tate Pointer, the current president of Shelter Buddies. “So selling biscuits on front campus, doing spirit nights where friends can get together and people from the club can get to know each other.”
Photo by Emily Bryant | Digital Media Editor