Posted: Apr 23, 2014 4:13 PM by Megan Schultz, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Sep 12, 2014 5:29 PM
BOONVILLE - The head of Boonville's animal control shelter is asking for a new facility after two other shelters in the area have shut down.
This summer marks two years since Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary shut its doors. The shelter operated for 16 years, and each year placed about 200 pets into homes.
The Boonville Humane Society also shut its doors around the same time.
Without those two additional shelters, Pam Paxton, who has been head of Boonville's animal control for 15 years, said it's time for a bigger and newer facility.
The Boonville animal shelter is now the only shelter in Boonville and the surrounding areas for more than a 20-mile radius. The closest ones are in Columbia to the east, Marshall to the north, Sedalia to the west, and Jefferson City to the south.
After the Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary and the Boonville Humane Society shut down, the two shelters gave the Boonville animal control shelter their remaining money, which totaled $13,000. But, Paxton said both of those groups requested the money be spent to help the animals, such as buying food and paying for spays and neuters. Since a new shelter is not directly helping the animals, Paxton couldn't use any of that money for a new facility.
"The money that comes in for the animals should be spent that way," said Paxton.
Because she couldn't use that extra money for a new building, Paxton said she needs the city's and public's help in building a bigger facility.
The animal shelter has enough room for eight dogs and five cats.
Paxton said until recently, she would have to put animals down because there wasn't enough room to house all of them.
"We didn't have places for them to go," Paxton said.
Recently, however, she has decreased the number of animals she has had to euthanize because she has partnered with rescue groups. In fact, last year she only had to euthanize four dogs because of extreme health conditions and aggressive behavior.
Paxton says she's been on a five-year program to get a new shelter three times, but every time it's her turn for a new shelter from the city, she says something more important comes up.
"I've been patient and tried to be understanding," she said.
Irl Tessendorf, Boonville's city administrator, said the project will happen but he can't say when. He said the reason the city has delayed building a new animal shelter is because Boonville has encountered some difficult economic times.
"The city council has slowed capital expenditures with the intent to focus on projects which might have more of a direct economic benefit," Tessendorf said. "Our shelter has some age on it but it is not a crisis. On most days our animal count at the shelter is less than capacity."
While capacity is still a concern for Paxton, she also worries about the conditions of the shelter.
She says she gets an operating budget for the shelter. "It covers my basic needs as far as food and stuff for the animals," Paxton said. "But there's just not enough funding for a new building."
Paxton maintains the shelter by requesting hand-me-down materials from other city projects. For example, she requested left-over fencing from the Boonville Parks and Recreation Department for a dog run outside. She also requested concrete to build walls to separate dog cages in order to prevent the spread of diseases.
"If she's got a project, she'll explain to me what she wants to do or what she would like to do and then she'll ask 'do you have what I need?'" Gary Nauman said. He's the director of parks and recreation. "If we can, if we've got the excess material laying around some place, then yea, we'll help her with the project," he said.
Paxton also relies on private donations, such as a space heater that a Boonville resident donated about eight years ago for the dogs in winter time. She also gets toy donations from the community, and ripped food bags from Walmart.
Paxton says she appreciates the left-over supplies and help from the city, but it's time for a new building.
"There's not much other than a new shelter is needed," Paxton said.
Boonville resident Marilyn Williams agrees.
"The animal shelter has been there since pretty close to when I was born and I'm getting up in years," Williams said. "I think we need a new one."
Paton says it's important to build a garage for the animal control van so the van doors aren't frozen shut in the winter time in case of an emergency. She also says the shelter needs a fence around the property so the animals can't get loose.
Paxton says she is especially grateful for the community's continuous donations, and is hopeful for a new facility to help the animals.
"If you could see that animal that is the recipient of some of that donation fund, know that it's now going for the opportunity of a lifetime," Paxton said. "You can't save them all, but for those that you can it makes a world of difference."
If you would like to donate to the Boonville animal shelter's new building fund, you can email Pax Paxton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (660) 882-2335. If you would like your donation to go toward the building fund, Paxton says to please specify on the check.