Good news for pups

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Mower County Humane Society and the Austin City Council got some good news recently: The Humane Society bought land on Oakland Avenue E., east of Highway 218 near the Austin Municipal Airport and will start construction on its long-awaited new animal shelter. All that’s left is for the city of Austin to uphold its end of a tentative agreement to share land and begin construction on a much-needed city pound.

The city’s shelter, around for more than four decades, has long been unable to keep up with animal demands. It’s dingy, cramped, and far out of date. That’s why the humane society usually takes more than 80 percent of the animals turned over to the city, enabling lower costs to the taxpayer through less food and euthanasia expenses.

What’s more, the city and humane society have talked for years about finding ways to streamline services. A $250,000 capital projects budget earmark set for fiscal year 2011 enabled the city to work with the humane society for each group’s shelter to share land, allowing the city to cut further costs to its $14,000 city shelter budget and letting MCHS keep its anti-euthanasia policy in place.

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Yet that agreement took place in January, with little action taken since despite the city’s search for suitable land for each shelter. Now that MCHS is pushing ahead with its new shelter, there are few reasons for the city to delay building a shelter of its own. Despite the new building’s estimated $370,000 cost, Austin’s City Council needs to make the new shelter a priority given future taxpayer savings the plan could have. And lets face it: It’s what’s best for Austin’s wayward puppies and kitties.