County to build new dog shelter

This time next year, stray dogs found roaming Auglaize County could be housed in a new shelter built behind the Auglaize County Law Enforcement Center (ACLEC).
Increased funding coming into the county from a full-time dog warden hired three years ago has made it possible for the county to revisit the project originally discussed in the summer of 2008, county Commissioner Don Regula said.
Money for the building is to come from the county’s Dog and Kennel Fund, however some will need to be borrowed for a short amount of time to get the shelter completed now, Commissioner Doug Spencer said.
The commissioners met with representatives of the Minster architectural firm Garmann-Miller & Associates, as well as a representative of the city of Wapakoneta and the dog wardens of Auglaize and Allen counties on Thursday to revisit original plans designed several years ago.
He said after checking on other properties and existing buildings as well as meeting with at least six other counties and their dog wardens, they felt comfortable moving forward.
“It’s long overdue,” Commissioner John Bergman said. “We have a good permanent location and plan to make sure this is very functional operationally, maintenance wise and for the public.”
Commissioners described the selected site, west of the radio tower and satellite behind the ACLEC on county property, as an easily accessible and visible location along U.S. 33 off of Dearbaugh Avenue in Wapakoneta.
Spencer said after talking with so many other counties they felt they had a good grasp on what would work best for the facility.
“The Dog and Kennel Fund has grown exponentially,” Spencer said of the past three years since Dog Warden Russ Bailey was hired. “Ideally, Auglaize County’s philosophy has always been once we have the money we’ll do the capital improvement.”
Before Bailey was hired, 3,800 dog tags were sold annually in the county. That number has increased to 6,030 so far in 2011.
While not all the money for the building will be available at the start of the project, Spencer said they are to be repaid within a short amount of time out of the Dog and Kennel Fund.
“We’ve limped along the three years since we brought back a full-time dog warden,” Spencer said. “It’s time to do this. We can’t delay it any longer.”
Regula said Bailey has made the current facility work despite some tough conditions and the commissioners are looking forward to the county having its first dog shelter built solely for that purpose.
Architect Brad Garmann anticipated having utilities in place and the foundation laid on the new building before Thanksgiving if the project is bid out in September. It should be completed within six months.
“This gives us a place to start,” Garmann said. “We’ll go back and revise the plans based on this meeting and set another meeting in a couple weeks for another review and an estimated total.”
He said the estimate for the 30- by 60-foot building in the summer of 2008 was more than $263,000.
Material costs have gone up since, but labor costs remain steady adding up to a fairly favorable bid climate, Garmann said.
The metal-sided and roofed building is to feature large kennels, a small dog and puppy room, quarantine area, utility room with washer and dryer and tub, office area, restroom, a garage and storage area. There would be some space to expand the building as necessary in the future.