Animal shelter upgrades discussed

TAKING THE OATH — Jodee Verhovec of Smithfield took the oath of office on Thursday, administered by Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham. Verhovec was elected to her fifth term as a board member of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District. Verhovec also serves on the district board for the state soil and water conservation districts. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday took under advisement a request for $90,000 in improvements to the county’s animal shelter.

Chad Coil, county dog warden, requested a generator and fuel tank for the shelter in the event of a power failure. Coil said the building is without heat when the electricity goes out, which could result in pipes freezing and uncomfortable temperatures for the animals. The pumps for the sewerage system also don’t work without power. He said the generator and fuel tank is estimated to cost around $30,000.

Coil also requested $25,000 to replace kennel doors. He said larger dogs are able to break the welds on the doors and may escape into the building. He said reinforced doors are needed.

The third project is to install a high-pressure water cleaning system to wash down the floors and kennels. It is estimated to cost $35,000.

Commissioner David Maple said he asked Coil to make the presentation but said the county has a lot of capital projects coming this year. Maple said he wanted to hear the presentation so he would have a better understanding of the needs.

Commissioner Thomas Graham said he was in favor of all three projects. He said the shelter has been fortunate so far when the power goes out.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said he favored the commissioners tabling the request and taking another look at the requests.

Commissioners then agreed to consider the generator, asking Coil to pursue grants and cost estimates from several vendors.

Coil also presented the December animal shelter report. He said 77 dogs were brought into the shelter, 24 dogs were carried over from November and 45 dogs were adopted. Two dogs were euthanized, one for medical reasons and the other for aggression. There were 12 county humane society cases.

Coil presented the shelter’s annual report, showing 814 dogs were brought to the shelter, with 536 dogs being adopted. He said 67 dogs were sent to foster homes and 174 were reclaimed by the owners. Coil said 27 dogs were euthanized throughout the year, which represents about 3 percent of the dogs brought in. He said he has a goal of 2 percent. A shelter is considered no-kill if it has 10 percent or less euthanization rate.

Commissioners were updated on the oil and gas royalty money from drilling under county property. The county received nearly $200,000 in 2017, spent $43,000, and received $200,000 in 2018, resulting in $356,164 being carried over for this year’s budget.

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