Monday, October 03, 2022
55.0°F

ML council increases animal shelter funding

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | July 28, 2022 1:25 AM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake City Council has increased its support for Grant County Animal Outreach to $100,000 per year following an appeal from the organization’s current board director, Sara Thompson Tweedy, that the current facility is simply no longer capable of meeting the organization’s needs.

“We are operating in a dilapidated facility; we are unable to retain staff,” Tweedy, who is also the president of Big Bend Community College. “We have space for 48 dogs and we routinely have 70-plus. We have no outdoor play space, it’s all kennels now. I’m not sure what that means heading into the winter.”

Council members voted unanimously during a regular meeting Tuesday to increase the amount the city pays in its annual contract with the animal outreach by $40,000. Grant County commissioners recently voted to increase the county’s support for the animal shelter — the only one that operates countywide — by $58,000 to $100,000.

Tweedy said the increase will help the shelter raise wages for staff and keep an executive director on longer than a few weeks. Right now, board members are having to do a lot of volunteer work, such as cleaning cages, because the outreach is so short-staffed, Tweedy explained.

“We pay $1 over minimum wage, and the previous director $50,000 (per year), and that was a real stretch for us,” Tweedy said.

In addition, the current facility — located at the Port of Moses Lake on Randolph Road NE near the intersection of Road 7 NE — has electrical plugs that don’t work, is falling down in places and is infested with rats.

“I don’t see how we rehabilitate it,” Tweedy said.

Other officials shared her concerns.

“A new facility is absolutely needed at this point,” said Moses Lake City Manager Allison Williams.

Moses Lake Police Chief Kevin Fuhr said because of the space problem, the shelter has asked the MLPD not to bring in any animals.

“That’s difficult with dogs,” Fuhr said, noting stray dogs pose a hazard to traffic and to people.

When asked by several council members if the shelter could organize a fundraising drive from the public or apply for grants, Tweedy said until the shelter has a full staff and some stability, those who work there now simply do not have the time to raise money.

“I would love to be in a position to run a capital campaign,” she said.

The current Grant County Animal Outreach sits on a little more than half an acre right next to the city’s Larson Sewage Treatment Plant and a privately owned eight-acre parcel, giving the facility little room to expand, Tweedy said.

However, according to a sign placed on the parcel, it is currently for sale. According to data available from the Grant County Assessor’s office, the parcel was last valued at $60,000

While the council approved the additional funding, council members also expressed concern that the shelter eventually needs to be relocated.

“They need the funding, but they need another location as well,” said Council Member David Eck.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

Recent Headlines