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Jackson County Animal Shelter to get $2.8 million worth of 'much needed' upgrades

Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Jackson County Animal Shelter
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 21:30:37-05

JACKSON, Mich. — The Jackson County Animal Shelter is going to get a $2.8 million upgrade.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners considered a proposed addition in 2019 but bids came in over budget according to the shelter so it was placed on hold until recently. Now, the staff couldn’t be happier.

“I was really excited about it,” said administrative assistant Ashley Axon. “The animals deserve this. We need space to be able to store the things that it takes to care for these animals. They deserve more room to make them comfortable. It’s a scary place here for them and they really deserve it.”

To pay for the project, the county combined just over $1.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act with $1.25 million from animal shelter funds made possible by 2018 millage.

Director Lydia Sattler said they saved just over $1 million since they received the millage.

“The cost of building has just skyrocketed so that kind of blew our plan to be able to do it on our own right out of the water,” she said. “Having that additional funding, just over $1 million from the county ARPA funds, will enable us to go ahead and start this building project and bring it to fruition.”

According to Sattler, their building was never designed to be an animal shelter. It was purchased by the county in 2007 and previously used as an animal boarding and grooming facility.

Jackson County Animal Shelter
Space issues at the animal shelter

They’ve made it work up until this point.

“Having more office space for the animal control officers or veterinarians, the animals, having different air flow through the building, the ventilation…changing all these things will really increase the health of the animals and the overall productivity of the employees,” she said.

That means a bigger surgery room and an upgrade to the HVAC system which will prevent the building from getting too hot during the summer. It will also have a “Rainbow Room” for owner-requested euthanasia.

“It will be a little bit more private,” Sattler said, "a nice peaceful place where they can come to say goodbye to their beloved pet.”

The Jackson County Animal Shelter does not euthanize animals otherwise.

Prior to the pandemic, the shelter was taking in 2,000 animals a year. That has gone up to 4,000. Sattler says there are several reasons for that including using a greater effort to reach people on social media.

As of this week there are 21 dogs and 24 cats in the shelter.

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“While we’re able to move animals pretty quickly through adoption, that allows us to be able to take in animals from other facilities that may not have as strong as an adoption program," Sattler said. “We sometimes take animals from the South that are slated for euthanasia and help that way.’

Things are busy day-to-day according to Axon.

“We take in probably around 10 animals a day not including strays,” she said. “We get so many strays all the time both dogs and cats. The other day we took in six in the first 45 minutes we were open. It was crazy.”

The addition of office spaces and an employee restroom should bring in much needed relief.

“It can be stressful,” she said. “We don’t have adequate office space or anything. We don’t really have a break room. We share a bathroom with everybody that comes in the building and everything. We definitely need more space and more office that’s for sure.”

Sattler says she thinks they will be able to break ground on a new facility starting in the spring.

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