Montcalm County commissioners consider future of Animal Control

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:25 am on Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Angela Hollinshead

STANTON — Angela Hollinshead has big dreams for Montcalm County Animal Control.

The Stanton facility’s director appeared before the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Economic Development and Physical Resources Committee on Monday to make several requests.

The first request was for approval to install a perimeter fence around the animal shelter, which is located at 155 Quarterline St. just off M-66 north of Stanton.

Hollinshead said since the animal shelter is a Michigan Department of Agriculture facility, it must be registered with the state and follow state guidelines. Those guidelines include having an exterior perimeter fence as an extra precaution for any animals that might escape from the shelter.

Hollinshead obtained a sample estimate from Outback Casual Living & Fence in Comstock Park, which quoted her a $3,800 price for a chain link fence, including installation and gates.

“I think since donations paid for the outside kennel, we could use donations to purchase our perimeter fence,” Hollinshead said.

According to Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer, there is approximately $16,000 in cash donated from community members available for use for betterment of Animal Control and the animal shelter.

The committee voted to recommend the perimeter fence request to the full board for approval. In the meantime, Hollinshead will get some more bids for the project.

Hollinshead’s second request was more complicated and had to do with the animal shelter itself.

“Our building is obviously very old,” she said. “I understand funding a new building is obviously very expensive.”

However, Hollinshead said something must be done. She said state officials want to see solid kennel walls installed in the shelter to help prevent disease and keep the animals healthier. She obtained a sample quote for this project and it would cost about $20,000 for concrete kennels, not including the cost of doors and paint.

Also, the shelter floors need work. Hollinshead said volunteers paint and wax the floor as much as possible, but it only lasts a few months. She said a professional epoxy floor job would cost about $10,000.

“I’m just wondering if you as a board can help me decide if we should put money into our indoor kennels or buy a building,” Hollinshead said.

Commissioner Ron Blanding of Greenville said the shelter’s electric system can’t handle any more additions. Blanding noted the old Ford dealership building is vacant just north of Stanton. He wondered aloud if Animal Control could relocate to that building or whether Montcalm County Emergency Services could relocate there and Animal Control could move to the EMS facility.

Hollinshead said the old Ford building is 10,000 square feet.

“It’s big enough to house multiple county departments,” she observed. “Obviously the Animal Shelter does not need 10,000 feet, that’s huge. It is large, it’s centrally located, it already has established offices and a large workshop area.”

Commissioner John Johansen of Montcalm Township noted that Animal Control is included in the county’s five-year capital budget for new kennels and a new roof; however, he wondered if the shelter will be able to stay open that long, as well as be able to house a growing number of animals.

“I would suspect we are on the narrow edge of needing to do something and doing it quickly,” he said.

Commissioners decided to ask Montcalm County Building Director Scott Minard to inspect the shelter and evaluate its future. The issue will then be revisited at a commissioner meeting in April.

Hollinshead recently had Minard take a look at the facility.

“I asked him if we had five years in the building,” she said. “He didn’t think we had five years in the building.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr said the county should be ready to financially support Animal Control. He noted how community members already donate labor, animal food and more to the shelter.

“I think that we ought to be prepared as a board to pony up some money to go out there,” Carr said. “I don’t think the whole thing needs to be funded on donations. I think we need to move on it. I think the time is right for us to add a substantial amount of money to that facility. If we have to double it or triple it (the current $16,000 in donated funds) to make these things happen, I think we need to step up and get these things done.”

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