The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 18, 2018 1:00 am

Shelter's rehab fund request gets put on hold

City Council delays vote on approving half of cost

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control will have to wait a week to find out whether City Council will fund half of a nearly $300,000 contract for renovations to the agency's facility.

The request, which would put $298,700 toward 1,297 square feet of renovations and construction of 346 square feet of new facility space, was placed on hold Tuesday for one week as the council's attorney works out language that makes clear that although the council approves of the contract, it is willing to pay only half of the total cost.

The other half will come from donors and a capital campaign, Amy Jo Sites, director of Animal Care & Control, told the council. The department has more than half of the necessary funds raised, Sites added.

“Currently we have a trust that was earmarked back in 2017 for this project through our Animal Control commission,” Sites said. “We have unallocated dollars at this point that if for some reason the community doesn't rally behind us and doesn't get us to that point that we need, I will have to go back to the Animal Care & Control Commission to see if they will fund us the additional (funds).”

The agency's current space is not sufficient for all of the department's needs, Sites said. Specifically, the building was designed to meet the department's needs only until 2010. When it was built, the shelter's surgical suite did not exist. To accommodate, officials converted a room that was originally designed as an intake office for animals brought into the shelter. 

“Though we are equipped with a fully functional surgical suite, the original intent was to only perform sterilization surgeries,” an overview submitted to City Council states. “The room where the existing surgical suite is located was originally designed to be an intake-type office. The space has never been able to be used to handle the volume of animals needing to be sterilized.” 

Currently, there is space for only one surgical table and the required medical equipment.

“There is a significant amount of time wasted in between surgeries,” the overview states. “Repurposing our existing after-hour depository space into a larger surgical suite, we would be able to incorporate another surgical table with medical equipment increasing our productivity and efficiency in a more sterile environment.”

The shelter also does not currently have a confidential area to perform necropsies, or animal autopsies, Sites said.

“Currently, our necropsies are performed in triage where animals are awaiting their surgeries. This space is not secure, nor does it allow for us to maintain as much sterility that's needed to not cross-contaminate between animals awaiting surgery and those being examined as potential cases,” the overview submitted to council states.

The council is expected to revisit the request during its meeting Tuesday.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily