In mid-June, a petition was launched on Change.org suggesting that the City of Gary’s Animal Control facility and services be transferred to Lake County Animal Control (LCAC). In light of the claims raised by concerned citizens, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson issued a statement and shared that a contingency plan for the facility would be released on July 1.
“As promised, we are releasing the plan that outlines immediate next steps for our Animal Control Division,” said Freeman-Wilson. “I am pleased with the solutions that have been brought forth and look forward to working with community organizations to garner even more support.”
Gary Animal Control Plan 2013
The following is a plan for the Gary Animal Control to enhance the conditions at the current facility located at 625 W. 9th Place, Gary, IN. The outdated structure presents challenges of disease management and at times, impacts the care that these animals need and deserve. Currently, the structure has a quarantine area that can receive a limited number of animals. The immediate plan will allow flexibility to enhance the operation of the animal control facility while continuing to maintain animals in a humane manner.
The Animal Control Division is an enforcement agency with a staff that includes one supervisor, three field officers, one kennel technician, and one civilian clerk. All are fully trained with proper certifications to handle animals and operate the facility.
Outlined below are the immediate steps that will be taken to address the housing situation for animals admitted to the Gary Animal Control facility.
Identify a 2nd Facility: 6800 East 7th Avenue
The Animal Control team has identified the Northwest Indiana Humane Society as a facility that is equipped to receive animals within a day’s notice. Located at 6800 E. 7th Ave., it is a prime location in Gary’s Miller area. The Gary Police Department is currently negotiating a lease agreement for this location to serve as a second animal control building. The building has approximately 2,000 sq. feet of space and was previously utilized as an animal control hospital.
The final terms of the lease are expected to be completed the first week of July 2013. Once both parties reach an agreement, the Gary Police Department plans to occupy the space immediately and start admitting animals. The facility will be used as a quarantine area during repairs to the 625 W. 9th Ave. site as well as a place for animals to dwell after becoming property of the City of Gary.
Renovate Current Facility at 625 W. 9th Avenue
Once the second facility is operational, Gary Animal Control will continue enhancing the 625 W. 9th Ave. The process to secure quotes and implement repairs should take approximately 90 days with a target completion date of September 30, 2013. Having the alternate facility allows flexibility to daily operations and for repairs and upgrades to be made.
Funding for the Project
The Gary Police Department has identified the account to pay for leasing the facility at 6800 East 7th Avenue. The rent for the facility is being negotiated at $500.00 a month, and the police department will be responsible for paying all utilities. Should the facility need any type of immediate repairs or materials to enhance operations, the Gary Police Department has identified their Building Repair Materials account to cover the costs. The repairs to the facility at 625 W. 9th Ave. will also be supported by the Building Repair Materials account.
The one year lease for the 2nd facility will be paid from account #43720, Lease/Purchase. In addition, efforts are underway to establish a non-reverting building and veterinary fund to receive donations from community groups to support the growth and enhancement of the Animal Control Division.
Network for Adoption
The Gary Animal Control has an established relationship with fifteen animal rescue groups at the present time for the purpose of fostering and placing animals in suitable homes. Volunteer coordinators are working with the Gary Animal Control on a daily basis to recruit additional rescue groups to reduce the number of euthanized animals. In addition,
rescue groups are providing virus vaccinations at no cost to the animal control facility.
The Gary Animal Control Division continues to cultivate relationships with community groups to assist with fundraising. On August 31, 2013, Wright Painting LLC will partner with the Gary RailCats to host its first fundraising event. All proceeds will go to the Animal Control building fund. Future fundraising events are pending. Community organizations and businesses are also invited to submit fundraising ideas to help support this effort.
From July 8-12, 2013 ARC (Animal Rescue Corp.), President Scotlund Haisley will visit the Gary Animal Control facility to conduct a needs assessment at no cost. He and his team will assess all elements of Gary’s Animal Control field and shelter operations, identify any deficiencies, make recommendations on cutting costs while maximizing efficiency and
effectiveness, and suggest ways to expand and improve service.
Areas to be assessed include but are not limited to budget, facility, staff, training, database system, customer service, emergency plan, animal handling, animal enrichment, behavior assessments, veterinary care, housing quality, intake protocol, euthanasia criteria and protocol, adoption program and policies, community outreach, shelter and rescue partnerships, food program, volunteer program, foster program, etc. This assessment will provide guidance for future plans of the Gary Animal Control.