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Joint animal shelter considered

Sat., Sept. 1, 2007

Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County may team up to build a regional animal shelter, possibly on property near the county’s garbage transfer station on Ramsey Road.

Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie said discussions of a joint shelter are “extremely preliminary” and wouldn’t discuss possible locations.

But the topic came up at a recent quarterly meeting of county commissioners and city officials. At that meeting, Currie said the county is considering a site near the transfer station.

“He mentioned there is some enthusiasm and possibilities for the transfer station area,” City Councilman Mike Kennedy said Friday. “Right now there are still more questions than answers, but it’s absolutely a front-burner issue.”

Currie said Friday that funding hasn’t been discussed and there’s no timeline for the project. “But we would like it done as soon as possible,” he said.

After the Coeur d’Alene Animal Shelter closed in February, the city began contracting with Post Falls for shelter services. The Post Falls City Council recently told Coeur d’Alene it won’t take dogs from Coeur d’Alene after May.

Meanwhile, Post Falls raised the impound fee and daily boarding fee it charges Coeur d’Alene. Each fee was raised to $30, an increase of $10, Post Falls police Lt. Scot Haug said.

“We found we needed to hire additional staff to care for this amount of dogs,” Haug said. “We’re trying to offset that with increasing the fees.”

Currie said the county will continue to use the Post Falls shelter in addition to any joint facility that could be built with Coeur d’Alene.

Haug said he was not aware that Coeur d’Alene and the county were considering a joint shelter.

Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson said he was asked by the county Friday if someone from his department would be interested in serving on a committee to explore the idea. The sheriff said he may do that himself.

But Currie said no committee is being formed.

“I asked one of our staff people to find an individual who had a passion for this,” he said.

Asked what role that individual would play in the possible shelter, Currie would not elaborate. He then said, “I will find an individual myself.”

Kennedy said Currie had mentioned he would appoint someone from the county to “give more focus” to the possibility of a joint shelter.

The Kootenai Humane Society is raising money for its own “animal sanctuary” in a campus-like setting to be centrally located in the county and that could include medical buildings, an adoption building and a dog park with a water feature.

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