Animal Shelter Concerns

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Editor:

There has been much discussion and many rumors circulating about the status of the Humane Society animal shelter and a new building. It is time to address those concerns so that the people of Payson will understand that we are fully aware of those issues, but to also explain about the purpose and needs of an animal shelter.

The town and the county are required to provide a shelter for homeless and abandoned animals. The county does have a shelter in Globe, which is where Payson animals could go if there were no shelter here.

The Globe facility is mostly at capacity, so if Payson animals are taken to Globe -- well, you do the math. And for town animals? Where would they go?

Despite the fact that there are people who feel we serve no purpose, the reality is, given our animal population in the Rim country, we provide a necessary service in our area. Our current shelter is old, poorly insulated and certainly not designed to be a state-of-the-art shelter.

That means lots of noise and utilities that are expensive. The shelter runs at a deficit every month. The town and county contracts don't cover the cost of keeping the shelter open, so this deficit is subsidized by donations, some grants and our fund-raisers.

We don't receive monies from national humane societies, such as The Humane Society of the United States. Our adoption fees also do not cover the complete cost of housing the animals.

We are extremely fortunate here in Payson to have an amazing community of volunteers who give hundreds of hours each month. We would not be successful without that support, along with the support shown by the Payson Roundup, KMOG and KRIM and the many people who donate food for the animals.

The bottom line is, we have property on Longhorn Road which was purchased for a new building. Most everyone agrees that is not a good location for an animal shelter; however, it is zoned M-1 which is what we need. And the Longhorn property, while large enough for the new building and the required parking spaces, won't give our dogs any room to exercise.

There is very little M-1 land available in Payson, but there are lots at the airport industrial park that are ideal for our purpose, and we have been in discussion with the town about those lots. That land could provide us with over an acre of very buildable land for a new shelter. In exchange, we have property both on McLane and on Longhorn.

That new shelter will be under one roof, with indoor kennels, state-of-the-art insulation, and more efficient use of utilities.

Our wish list includes an exercise area for the dogs -- exercised dogs are quiet dogs. Dogs bark because they are bored and anxious. Wouldn't you be, too, if you were locked up 24 hours a day? We have also ensured that the lots in question are far enough away from the residential area as to not be a problem. The kennels would be to the back of the building, which would face Airport Road -- no houses.

We desperately need a new shelter, but we do not want to build on Longhorn. Longhorn is our fallback position, though. Please, Payson, help us with the land we need so that we can continue the good work that is being done here.

Kathe Stander, chairman, PHS Building Committee

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