AP shelter decision delayed

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – More information is needed before a decision on the city’s animal shelter is reached, officials said Tuesday.

Councilman Bob Keenan called for a report on the shelter’s revenue and expenses along with a projection of revenue possible if it changes the way it charges to accept animals from other cities. It now charges a flat fee to accept animals from area cities instead of the per-animal fee used by other shelters.

A decision was due at the last meeting after councilors reviewed a cost analysis of the repairs to the shelter they ordered after shelter manager Kalin Turri and Interim Police Chief James Wilkewitz approached the council Nov. 22 to suggest that the shelter be closed and services be contracted to Romulus after a report from the Michigan Department of Agriculture revealed repairs – including replacement of the air conditioning unit and floor and kennel fence repairs – they said would push the shelter, which breaks even with $37,000 in revenue every year, into the red.

Upon a review of the Michigan Department of Agriculture report, councilors called the initial assertion “misleading,” and suggested alternate methods for the repairs to the porous cement floors, including epoxy instead of sandblasting, solicitation of material donations from area businesses, and volunteer labor from community members.

The original deadline for the repairs, which also include an isolation area – anything from a separate room to a shower curtain – for animals with communicable diseases, was moved to May from earlier this month by the state.

Mayor William Matakas also said the city plans to explore other options, such as a planned shared services animal shelter to be built with $250,000 in grant funds by Southgate and include several area communities. He said some of the shelter’s clients are considering moving to other facilities – a fact the city must also consider.

“We have people using our facility that may in the future no longer be customers of us,” Matakas said. “We need to see what our costs are if we’re going it alone.”