Faulkner County Justice of the Peace Randy Higgins spoke to the Conway Noon Lions Club at its regular meeting Tuesday at Central Baptist College where he shared an update on the plans for the Faulkner County Animal Control Committee.
Higgins is the chair of the Courts and Public Safety Committee for the Faulkner County Quorum Court.
Higgins said that Faulkner County has already purchased a property located on Highway 65 south of Greenbrier and Springhill. The property is 4 acres and already has a 10,000-square-foot building on the property that used to be the old building for the Through the Years Flea Market.
Rik Sowell with Sowell Architects, who has done multiple projects for Faulkner County, has also agreed to help with the construction of the animal shelter.
Higgins said that the county is not looking for a shelter that costs too much money, and just wants one that will accomplish the job.
“We’re not looking for a ‘Taj Mahal’ animal shelter,” he said. “We just want a shelter where we can address the animal welfare issue in Faulkner County.”
The committee recommends that the animal shelter be a one-story building with an exterior that avoids an “institutional look” with natural lighting being provided in all public areas of the shelter, Higgins said.
“A big cost for the animal shelter is heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.” he said. “They must be designed to provide clear, odor-free, uncontaminated air throughout all animal housing areas. This is essential to control the spread of airborne diseases.”
The shelter plans to have three to four full-time employees, a director and a couple of animal control officers, as well as six part-time animal care employees.
The recommendation is that the county will have a capacity of 40 dogs and 40 cats with a goal of having an average length of stay of 14 days for the dogs and 21 days for the cats. The shelter will hope to have a new home for each animal by the end of those recommended timeframes.
Higgins said that the shelter will not be a no-kill shelter, but that the county will strive to keep the euthanization rates low.
The project does not have a set finish date yet but Higgins said that he hopes to have it done in “less than a year.”
Jordan Wooodson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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