I’d like to update you on a major project the county has been working on for quite some time. If you’ve traveled near the Metropolitan Community College Blue River campus lately, you’ve probably noticed construction going on across the road. That’s the future site of the new Jackson County Animal Shelter.

I’d like to update you on a major project the county has been working on for quite some time. If you’ve traveled near the Metropolitan Community College Blue River campus lately, you’ve probably noticed construction going on across the road. That’s the future site of the new Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The need for an animal shelter is not a new idea. For many years, the county has contracted its animal services to different entities at an average cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year. In 2009, the County Legislature decided to issue bonds to finance the cost of a $4.9 million animal shelter. An agreement with the city of Independence would allow the county to forgo the administration of the shelter for 30 years as long as the county was willing to cover construction costs.

For the last few months, crews have been busy prepping the site, pouring concrete for the foundation and erecting walls of what will be a state-of-the-art animal care and adoption facility.

The new shelter will be approximately 27,169 square feet and have the capability to house up to 190 dogs and 110 cats. Making sure the shelter includes the latest accommodations such as modern kennels and indoor exercise and grooming areas, as well as an on-site surgical facility, will ensure that animals receive the care they need. Since the placing of animals in a good home will also be a goal of this facility, a volunteer center and a specially designed space for pet adoptions will also be included. The shelter will also house a multiuse education room to provide instruction to individuals in the animal health field.

In May, the county committed to collaborating with MCC-Blue River to expand its veterinarian technology education program due to the proximity of the campus to the new shelter. Such a partnership is invaluable to the community in the form of services such as low-cost spay and neuter and vaccination options; and to the students in the form of classroom as well as hands on instruction.

As a proud owner of three spoiled dogs – two of them rescued dogs – I know the happiness and joy animals can bring to a home. I also know the need for compassion and concern when it comes to providing care and attention to abandoned animals. Our new shelter will certainly provide an ideal environment for our four-legged friends to receive the quality care and services they deserve.