Sales tax would pay for shelter improvements

(Editor’s Note: The Laurens County Advertiser is taking a look at each of the 16 projects proposed to be funded by the Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) in Laurens County. The 1-cent sales tax will be put to a referendum in the Nov. 3 General Election. The next proposed project, our sixth in the series, involved improvements to the Laurens County Animal Shelter.)

The Laurens County Animal Shelter is usually at, near or over capacity – a fact of life for members of the county’s animal control unit and for the dogs who wind up there.

As part of the Capital Project Sales Tax referendum set for the Nov. 3 General Election, $280,000 would be earmarked for renovations and improvements at the shelter. Those changes are meant to make the facility safer for the animals and the people who care for them.

“Our plan, if approved, will remove the old kennels, which are all chain link,” said Sgt. Geoff Brown, supervisor of Laurens County Animal Control. “Then we’re going to redo the floor with an epoxy coating and put up new solid-wall kennels that have transfer doors from one side to the other for dogs that are dangerous, so that our staff doesn’t have to come in contact with them to clean the kennels and care for them.

“The design of it and the way the kennels would be set up, we’ll actually have a few more kennels, which is what we need because we’re always overcrowded.”

Less contact means a safer environment for LCAC workers and the dogs, which would be unable to pick fights through the fencing.

Brown said the solid walls and sealed flooring would solve a variety of problems for the animals.

The epoxy floors would be anti-bacterial, stopping the spread of germs, and the added walls would serve as sound dampeners that could help keep the dogs calmer.

“When some of the dogs come in, they’re absolutely terrified, so to see all the dogs constantly being stimulated, it makes it harder for them to be able to calm down,” Brown said. “It will also make it cleaner because stuff will transfer from one dog can lead to another dog getting sick.”

The largest part of the $280,000 price tag would be used for a new HVAC system for the entire facility. The kennels are currently heated, but are not air-conditioned.

Adding air-conditioning to the facility is also for the workers, who spend most of their time in the kennels, as well as the dogs. But Brown, who has put the focus on getting dogs adopted or rescued as the shelter has evolved under his watch to a “no-kill” facility with the exception of dangerous animals, said a cooling system is also for members of the public who visit the facility in search of their next pet.

“We have great dogs now, and the dogs aren’t going to change,” Brown said. “But when someone comes into a facility that looks nicer, they’ll feel like they’re adopting a nicer dog, so it will help with adoptions.”

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