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Opening of New Lubbock Animal Shelter Marks Brighter Future for South Plains Strays

Strider (Julie Fisher)

A ribbon cutting ceremony today marked the end of a four year struggle by the city to open a new animal shelter in Lubbock. The placement of the new facility, now just inside the South Loop located between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Southeast Drive, was highly controversial when the City Council first brought the proposition to the table. Several parks were considered as construction sites, including Mackenzie and Clapp sites. When the Council announced in 2009 that the shelter would be moving to Mackenzie Park, residents in the area responded in an uproar against the plan. Eventually, after several threats of lawsuits were made, the new more southern location was decided upon.
The $4.8 million facility is a major upgrade from the outdated, dilapidated building that housed thousands of stray animals. The old building, which is over 40 years old, was terribly under-equipped to handle the 30,000+ animals that passed through its doors yearly. The overcrowded and outdated building was not only depressing to visit, it was almost impossible to keep clean. Disease ran rampant in the facility due to its outdated containment and construction features. Workers hope separate HVAC systems and bacteria-resistant flooring in the new facility’s design will help cut down on the spread of disease, and that the healthier, cleaner environment will encourage locals to visit when in search of a pet, lost or otherwise.

Casey, rescued border collie (Julie Fisher)

Animals have not yet been moved to the new building pending the official opening date sometime next month. Authorities with the shelter say great care will be taken during the animal’s transition period to prevent contaminating the new facility with disease from the old building. The upcoming months will surely mark an upturn in the quality of life for thousands of abandoned animals in the area.

I’m glad the shelter is finally in the process of settling into a new building in a location that doesn’t rub too many residents the wrong way. It’s the largest shelter here on the South Plains and it was evident the old building was falling painfully short of what was required of it. If you’ve ever had to make the drive out to the old building in North Lubbock, I’m sure you know how depressing and obviously underequipped it was. One look could tell you the building needed hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and upgrades. As far as the new facility goes, I’m glad they built it. I’m relieved to hear that disease control is a major focus at the facility. I think the combination of cleaner surroundings and healthier animals will greatly improve adoption and redemption rates. From what I’ve seen and heard, I know I’m much more willing to stop by.

Bane, rescued 4/16/2011 (Stephen Gentry)

Now for some campaigning for my cause. While I’m not an idealistic fool who believes every animal can be rescued, I do think considering adoption is a great thing to do when looking for a pet. There are literally thousands of fantastic dogs and cats that can fit perfectly into your home if you do choose to adopt. My family adopted a cat  nearly ten years ago and she is still a happy (if not overweight) part of our household. Stop by and check out the new facility when it opens. It’s equipped with a play area so you can get to know the animals, plus you get the extra bonus of enjoying the new, more sanitary building. And until then, make the drive out to North Lubbock. I’m sure they’ll be needing extra volunteers as they make the move to the new shelter. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet your new best friend in the process.

Have any animal rescue tales from LAS? Comment below!

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