TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Animal Welfare is planning a much-needed expansion. But now, thanks to the pandemic, they are nearly $1 million short of completing the project.
“Our facility is inadequate, just the bottom line,” said Marshelle Freeman, acting director of Tulsa Animal Welfare.
Kennels are full at Tulsa Animal Welfare as the shelter reaches capacity – again.
“When they built the shelter, it was primarily built for a facility where they held animals,” said Jamee Suarez, commissioner of the Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission. “People weren’t really coming here to adopt. It wasn’t really adoption-friendly. Shelters have evolved since then.
Tulsa Animal Welfare commissioners visited the facility Monday night. Shelter workers showed why he needed more space.
Tulsa Animal Welfare received $4.7 million as part of this year’s city budget for the expansion. But that proved insufficient as construction costs rose during the pandemic.
“With rising construction costs and rising material costs, we are unable to provide Tulsa with a world-class facility that they need and the animals need and were promised to them,” said Freeman.
Tulsa Animal Welfare needed an additional $3.4 million. Freeman said the Tulsa City Council approved $2.5 million in COVID relief funds to go to the shelter. And for the remaining $900,000, they look to the county for help. They said county commissioners could vote on that funding as early as the end of this month.
This expansion funding will pay for things like a new adoption center, more kennel space and green space for walking trails.
“There are a lot of things we could do better if we had more space,” Freeman said. “Just general animal care, we won’t have to double kennels, we would be able to provide more enrichment for our animals and allow them more freedom outside if we had more space and more staff .
Even with that $900,000, the shelter plans to meet with the design teams soon to figure out what they can do until they hopefully receive those funds.
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