Kennel talks back on

County plans for the new year include taking another look at building a new dog facility.

During a monthly meeting Thursday with Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey, the Auglaize County commissioners made plans to schedule a meeting in late January with architects, who have done preliminary drawings for such a project.

“We need to decide if we want to stay with what we have on paper or start again from scratch,” Auglaize County Commissioner Doug Spencer said. “Either we are going to go with what we have and decide what we are going to do or we are going to decide another direction to go.”

Commissioner John Bergman, echoing what commissioners have said throughout preliminary talks, said they didn’t want to shave anything out of plans for the project that would take away from daily operations there once it opens.

Spencer suggested they talk with Hardin County commissioners, who are in the process of putting up a new dog shelter.

In October, Commissioners traveled with Bailey to tour Darke County’s dog shelter as well.

The last bid received for what has been described by Auglaize County commissioners as a “basic” 2,300-square -foot dog shelter including 24 kennels here came in at $530,000.

While the high estimated cost has kept the county from building the facility, Spencer said the need has not lessened since 2008 when they began looking at a new dog shelter. A site has been prepared along U.S. 33 near the Auglaize County Fairgrounds and behind the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.

The Dog and Kennel Fund could contribute approximately $200,000 to building a new shelter, with dog tag sales largely responsible for covering operating costs.

Earlier this year, the commissioners had hoped to have construction on a dog shelter started by late fall.

The county’s dog shelter is housed in a rented 900-foot facility, which was meant to be only temporary, provides no office space, lacks proper infrastructure, and is difficult to clean.

Bailey said in 2012, he took in approximately the same number of dogs as in 2011, maybe a few more, but the last several months, which are typically slow for his office, have not been. Even this week some dogs had to be taken to Allen County because Auglaize County’s  facility at the Neil Armstrong Airport, outside of New Knoxville was full.

The dog warden said adoptions are down, but they are returning more dogs to their owners.

Bailey blamed lower adoption rates in part on the economy, but said a lot of people still don’t know they can adopt dogs through him. They are working on getting the word out to different websites, in addition to the county website, where pictures of dogs available for adoption are posted.