12.15 Holts Summit Animal Shelter

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HOLTS SUMMIT - Holts Summit's board of aldermen met Thursday night to discuss creating a city-owned shelter.

Currently, the city pays a private business to take in stray or abused animals. The person who runs the private business will be retiring, and City Administrator Rick Hess said the city needs to make some decisions.

"We are going to lease the building from her right now," Hess said. "While we've got this contracted place, we are going to be looking at a variety of different things, whether we need to purchase a piece of ground and build a shelter based on our perceived needs now and what we project for our growth, or do we have a piece of ground the city already owns that would be suitable to build one."

The closest animal shelters to Holts Summit are in New Bloomfield and Jefferson City. Several animal shelters in mid-Missouri run close to or at capacity.

Hess said an animal shelter is crucial for any municipality to have. 

"This is one of those critical needs," Hess said. "If you don't do something, sooner or later, you're going to get overrun with animals and then you have a political firestorm on your hands. Animals are just a fact of our lives and it's incumbent upon us to do as much as we can for them and for the citizens so that they're not overrun with animals."

Hess said the new shelter would be paid for with money from the city's current Animal Control sales tax. 

"We have already hired someone part-time to take care of the animals while they're waiting to be adopted out," Hess said. "This sales tax has been in effect for a while and it will help pay that salary and pay for the lease until we can get a building built."

Animal control officer Kevin Ward said the new shelter will not be designed for people to drop off unwanted pets. Hess said the city has ordinances in place against abandoning animals.

"If somebody tries that, we will use those," Hess said. "We will take them to court. This is going to be only for animals who get abused and animals that get lost."

The board of aldermen did not make a decision on when or where to build the city's new shelter at Thursday's meeting.