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County Lets Voters Decide Whether to Build a $22 Million Animal Shelter

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Pima County is in the south central region of Arizona. The County seat is in Tucson, where the greatest percentage of its 980,263 population is centered. It is predicted that by 2015, the population will be 1,132,440 in this desert area.

As the human population increases, of course, so does the pet population. The County has decided to let the voters at the general election in November decide if they want to invest $22 million for an improved animal-care center.

The following is posted on the County website.

The vote comes as Pima Animal Care Center has embraced modern animal care practices that have helped save the lives of more animals at the center, which cared for nearly 24,000 pets last fiscal year. As the only open-admission shelter in the County, Pima Animal Care Center takes in all animals that are presented to the shelter in need.

While the live release rate has increased from 55 percent two years ago to 76 percent this fiscal year to date, it also means the Center is keeping more animals at the shelter and keeping them longer while they wait for new homes.

The Board of Supervisors in the fall approved the construction of a tent as a stopgap measure to reduce overcrowding and meet space demands.

The proposed $22 million facility would help Pima Animal Care achieve industry best practices and would cost only about $4 annually for the homeowner of a house at the median value of about $150,000.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said taxpayers should remember that Pima County is paying down general obligation bond debt quickly--at a rate of $50 million a year--so they may not even notice an increase.

Volunteer Cathy Neuman thanked the Board for its past support but said even with the tent in operation there are still some kennels with four or five dogs. Overcrowding means more pet get sick and are under stress, she said. Adding, “There are not many, if any, bond issues that come forward that are a matter of life and death--but this one is!”

Supervisor Richard Ellis said the new facility is worthy of voter consideration.

One of the most important things we have to do here is to move to a new model of service that will be more humane and put us in the modern age of animal care, he said.

How would you vote?

Source: Pima County

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