Marshall County Animal Shelter

The Marshall County Animal Shelter will not be getting the big rebuild animal advocates hope. But Commission chairman James Hutcheson said they will continue to make improvements to the facility over time.

A proposal to rebuild Marshall County's animal shelter for nearly $1 million failed this week due to a lack of a second on the motion. 

But Commission chairman James Hutcheson said after the meeting that doesn't mean the shelter is not going to get improvements. 

"We have nearly $300,000 in the budget for the animal shelter," Chairman Hutcheson said. "We are still going to do work on the shelter, but we will have to piecemeal it." 

This was the 3rd time the Commission has bid the animal shelter project and the 3rd time the bids had been deemed too high. 

On Wednesday, County Engineer Bob Pirando presented the Commission with the latest bid totaling $922,748 as the base. Pirando said the bid proposal included five alternatives to reduce costs — such as using different piping, flooring and other materials and not including items like exhaust fans or an HVAC system — as well one option to install a metal roof for an additional $40,622.

After a short discussion of the issue in the work session, District 2 Commissioner Rick Watson  made a motion that the Commission accept the base bid with the addition of the metal roof for a total of $963,370.

“I’ve told a lot of people that this dog shelter is going to happen,” Watson said. “A lot of things have happened in the last four or five months that I didn’t agree with… But when I tell somebody — my word means a lot to the folks — and I feel like I’ve got to bring this up.”

Despite Watson’s support, the bid failed to reach a vote due to the lack of a second motion by another commissioner. This makes the third time the commission has rejected bids for shelter renovations. In November 2020, the Commission rejected three bids for the project, the lowest of which was approximately $675,000. At that time, Chairman James Hutcheson said he could not “justify” spending that amount.

After the matter failed for lack of a second, a number of animal shelter advocates in the audience got up and walked out while the meeting was still taking place. 

Shortly before Wednesday’s meeting adjourned, Hutcheson said, “I know we had some people disappointed about the animal shelter, but we’ve been working hard on that for years. I know we’re in a pandemic now and the price of everything is going up, up, up, but we’ll still continue to work on that shelter.”

Hutcheson mentioned several upgrades that have been made to the current shelter, such as adding hot water and a heating and air system. He added that in 2021, the shelter took in 435 dogs, of which 16 had to be euthanized due to terminal injuries or illnesses. Among those dogs remaining, 63 were adopted, 262 were transferred to rescue shelters and 29 were reclaimed by their owners. Currently, the shelter is housing 47 dogs, according to Animal Control Supervisor Kevin Hooks.

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