Animal shelter

Burke County officials review animal shelter Caldwell is building | Local News

SHARON MCBRAYER Editor

Burke County Commissioners identified the land that will house a new animal shelter and viewed proposed designs for the shelters.

And while the momentum for a new shelter appears to have slowed, two commissioners, Chairman Scott Mulwee and Vice Chairman Johnnie Carswell, and some county staff visited the new Caldwell County Animal Shelter last week. which is currently under construction to see how a neighboring county builds its shelter. The shelter is built adjacent to the county sheriff’s office and jail. His current animal shelter is located on Fairview Drive in Lenoir.

The Burke County group was treated to a tour of the shelter by Caldwell Animal Services Director Richard Gilliland. He pointed out various features that the new nearly 12,000 square foot facility will have and also updated Burke officials on some changes that have been made. The facility will double the county’s capacity for dogs and cats, Gilliland said.

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He also briefed Burke officials on the shelter’s 11 staff members, including a director (Gilliland), two shelter attendants, four law enforcement officers, an adoption coordinator, a shelter manager and two office staff.

Burke County Animal Services has a director, an animal services coordinator, two shelter technicians, an animal enforcement supervisor, and two animal enforcement officers. This year’s county budget included money for some seasonal temporary shelter staff positions.

As for how the shelter was funded, much of it comes from a state budget appropriation.

Caldwell County Executive Donald Duncan said the cost of the facility is currently $3.7 million, but expects the price to likely be closer to $4 million when it’s all set. said and done. The county also plans to build a barn on the property to house larger farm animals, he said.

Duncan said the county borrowed $3.7 million to start the project, but was receiving $3.5 million from the state for the installation.

Burke County commissioners have been discussing building a new animal shelter since at least 2019. The current shelter was built in the 1970s.

In July 2019, the Burke County Animal Shelter was transferred from operating under the Sheriff’s Office to the County Manager’s Office.

That year, the commissioners also contracted with Shelter Planners of America for an animal shelter needs assessment.

The needs assessment called for 10,787 square feet of enclosed space, with an additional 3,127 square feet of outdoor space.

So far, commissioners have identified the property he already owns next to the 911 center on Kirksey Drive in Morganton as the future home of a new shelter. The current animal shelter is located on Kirksey Drive.

Last year, the commissioners agreed to purchase 2.5 acres from Burke County Public Schools on Kirksey Drive to add to the property.

The county already owed 17.03 acres there, which includes the land on which the 911 center sits.

Burke County Executive Bryan Steen said there will be enough land for a shelter, an area of ​​walking trails where people can walk dogs in the facility and potentially a barn for larger animals.

At this stage, nothing has been decided on funding for a new shelter, the commissioners said.

After visiting the Caldwell shelter, Carswell said he’s not looking to build anything fancy, Burke just needs a working facility that can house homeless animals until they can be adopted.

As for funding a new shelter, Burke officials say no money has yet been set aside or identified for it.