Posted 6/28/16 (Tue)
By Cecile Wehrman
Taking care of Tioga’s wayward animals was not a factor that brought Ronda Davidson onto the Tioga City Commission, but as she participated in her final meeting as a commissioner last week, it was the city’s new dog pound that was uppermost in her mind.
“It’s not a $500,000 dog pound,” she said, though that notion has persisted in the community, drawing a fair amount of negative comment from some residents.
Yet, “We have to have some place to keep these animals. It’s in our ordinances we’re supposed to keep them safe. It’s not fancy at all.”
The new building soon to be erected on the foot print of a long-abandoned city shop will cost $500,000, but as Davidson points out, the majority of that facility is for use as a recycling center -- not a dog pound.
The facility, as presently configured is much different than several earlier versions of the project under discussion.
“They started remodeling the old city shop but they had to condemn it. It wasn’t structurally sound, so they had to tear it down and start over,” said Davidson.
That was a year ago. Water was already being dug in and in the mean time, the oil economy began to tank.
“When we first started, it was going to be really nice,” said Davidson.
Now, the number of animals needing care has declined along with the funds for a dog pound.
“Hopefully people will understand why we need one, but it’s not a big fancy building. It’s just heat and electricity and a few kennels,” she said.
The kennels now in use are the ones that will be used in the new space.
Davidson suspects some people have confused the city’s dog pound with private efforts to build a rescue facility for animals. The city’s facility will not be a dog rescue.
“We just hold them there and we turn them over after five days,” to the local rescue organization.
Mayor Drake McClelland said the building soon to be erected will be much smaller than the one it is replacing and cuts to the city hall remodeling project -- about $250,000 -- will help mitigate the cost of the recycling center.
“It made sense to shrink the building down,” said McClelland, along with the money it would cost to build it.
He could not provide definite dimensions of the dog pound portion of the project. City Auditor Abby Salinas said the dog pound portion of the project takes up about 30 percent of the floor plan.
More costly than the space, said Salinas, is the need for that portion of the building to retain heat and have water service.
Davidson points out the funds for the recycling center and dog pound were set aside over two years ago, but she doesn’t want to leave her term in office -- and the people of Tioga -- with the notion money is being wasted.