Courtesy of the Madison Messenger
Humane Society moving to WJ
Messenger photo by Kristy ZurbrickThe Humane Society of Madison County is slated to move its operations to this former church on Route 142 in West Jefferson.
The Humane Society of Madison County is making plans to move its animal shelter operations from London to West Jefferson. At the same time, the county commissioners and Humane Society are at a stalemate over service contract terms.
The commissioners pay the Humane Society to operate the county dog pound at 1357 State Route 38 SE in London. The county budgeted about $34,000 for those services this year, the same amount as last year.
In March, the Humane Society board rejected the contract terms, saying they need at least twice that amount to cover the county’s statutory obligation to the county’s stray dogs. For now, the Humane Society is operating on the old contract terms.
If the two parties renegotiate, the county contract will follow the Humane Society to its new shelter site. If the two parties don’t reach an agreement, they may part ways. The county would operate its facility in London. The Humane Society would operate its facility in West Jefferson.
The new shelter
The Humane Society’s new shelter site is a 5,000 square-foot building that sits on five acres on State Route 142 NE, a quarter-mile south of I-70. The building is a former Nazarene church.
Geo-Sites Ltd. recently purchased the property. George and Betty Peyton, members of the Humane Society board, own Geo-Sites. The Peytons have offered to lease the property to the Humane Society for $1 a year for 25 years.
The decision to move is unofficial until the board votes on it. The next board meeting is May 18.
“This is a huge, huge thing,” said Cindy Phillips, board secretary. “It’s going to be nice to put everything under one roof.” She also noted the new shelter will have ample parking and is easy to find.
At the county-owned shelter in London, the dogs are kept in kennels inside and outside a block building. The office and cats are housed in a trailer. Sick cats and an area for medical attention are housed in another trailer.
The one-story building at the new site would allow all animals, visitors, volunteers and shelter employees to stay inside. Unlike the county shelter, the West Jefferson facility is completely handicap accessible.
Betty Peyton, who serves as the shelter director, said the new site can house the same number of cats and dogs as the current site. The difference will be the size of dogs the new site can accommodate.
“Our max now is 45 dogs, with kennels big enough for 28 large dogs. At the new shelter, all the kennels will be big enough for large dogs,” she said.
The dog kennels and storage space will occupy the former church sanctuary. Cats, a medical area, and offices will occupy former classrooms.
Renovations should be minor, Peyton said. Carpet will be removed, leaving con-crete floors. New paint inside and fencing outside are needed. Plumbing exists in the sanctuary where baptisms took place.
“We just have to figure out drainage and how to tie into other plumbing in the building,” Peyton said.
With the board’s approval, the goal is to move to the new site by August, she said.
The board is studying the logistics of converting the building, moving the animals, and operating the new facility.
Update- The HSMC Board has approved the offer of the building and lease agreement.