A ground breaking was held Thursday morning for the future home of a new animal shelter for the City of Smithville and DeKalb County.
Members , friends, and supporters of the DeKalb Animal Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals gathered at the site located behind Tenneco Automotive and near the county’s soon to open solid waste transfer station.
“We have so many people to be thankful for who have helped with this. We especially want to thank our city mayor and our county mayor. We also want to thank our Smithville Board of Aldermen and our county commission and all the volunteers without whom we could not have done any of this,” said Marsha Darrah, President of the Coalition.
Sue Puckett Jernigan, member of the Coalition, added that while everyone is excited about the progress that has been made, more funds are needed in support of the shelter. “We are really happy about this and we’re looking forward to the finish date. We’re going to see this to the end. This is going to succeed but we still need donations and volunteers because we will be running short on funds,” she said.
Although several potential bidders expressed an interest, Mike Foster said only one bid was received to build the shelter and that was a bit more costly than expected. So the project was awarded to the bidder on a cost plus basis. “Dwayne and Cindy Ward were the only ones who had bid on it. We had seven or eight people who got papers to bid on it but they (Ward’s) were the only ones who bid. We all talked about it and thought it (bid) was high so they (Ward’s) will do it at cost plus. This way we can get the sales tax savings being that the Coalition is a 501c3 organization. Just on the concrete we have put down so far it saved us $490. By the time we pour the slab we will have realized a savings of $21,000. Hopefully, it’s going to save approximately $100,000 doing it this way,” said Foster.
The facility is situated on a four acre site and is expected to be around 4,000 square feet when completed, including outside pens. Foster said the completion date is not certain but could be within the next four months, depending upon the weather.
If you would like to volunteer or make a donation toward the shelter, contact Marsha Darrah, Sue Puckett Jernigan, or any member of the Coalition. Donations may be made by Pay Pal or at Post Office Box 354.
Jim Wood, another member of the Coalition invites you to volunteer or shop at the Coalition’s Resale Store on Walnut Street downtown Smithville on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. “Anyone can stop in and volunteer to help us out or look around and see if there is something in there they can’t live without. There are all sorts of things in there people have been donating. You’d be surprised at the number of things that are available that we’re practically giving away. I mean these are yard sale prices. Come in and see what you can find,” said Wood.
The goal of the coalition is for the county to have a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.
The City of Smithville and DeKalb County have each donated $75,000 toward construction of the facility. The new shelter will take the place of a smaller one which has been in existence for years on county property but operated by the city behind the DeKalb County Highway Department Headquarters off Smith Road.
TOP PHOTO; Cindy Ward, Dwayne Ward, Alderman Gayla Hendrix, Hector Florez, Marsha Darrah, County Mayor Tim Stribling, David McDowell, Sue Puckett Jernigan, Alderman Jason Murphy, Joyce Poss, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, Dr. Hugh Don Cripps, Mike Foster, Jim Wood, and Sue Wright.