A couple of stray dogs on Wednesday became the first residents of Perry’s long-awaited new animal shelter.
The shelter will have 21 dog pens in a climate-controlled building with outdoor runs. It also has a room for cats and a separate room to quarantine cats.
The city has sought for years to get a new shelter, which has been delayed by the cost.
Last March, the City Council approved a contract for $544,022 to build the new facility, which also has an exam room and a quarantine area for dogs. The old block building nearby that had been the shelter is beyond repair and likely will be torn down, said Perry police Capt. Bill Phelps, who oversees animal control.
Most of the dogs had been kept in pens under an open shed, so they had no relief from the cold or heat.
“This is a thousand times better than what we had,” Phelps said. “The animals were exposed to inclement weather. Now it can be raining or it can be snowing and you can still come down here and adopt a dog, It just lends a good atmosphere that people will want to come to.”
Angie Reed, the senior animal control officer, said she is also hopeful that with a better building more people will come to adopt dogs.
“It’s a lot cleaner and a lot nicer,” she said. “People will actually want to come down here and look at dogs.”
The Friends of the Perry Animal Shelter also has a separate facility where it holds dogs and cats from the shelter for adoption.
The shelter currently has six dogs in its custody, with one at the veterinarian. The two that were placed in the new shelter were recently captured strays. One of those was a German shepherd that a man brought to the shelter, but he lived outside the city limits. He was told he could take the dog to the Warner Robins animal shelter, which is under contract to take dogs for the county. But Reed said the man then dumped the dog at a nearby cemetery and they were called to pick it up.
Three dogs remained in the old shelter because they had been there a while, and with the weather nice Reed saw no reason to stress them immediately by moving them to the new location. But she expected within a week all of the animals would be moved to the new building.
Reed said on average the shelter takes in about two or three dogs a week. The number of cats varies widely. With the help of the Friends of the Perry Animal Shelter, almost all of the animals eventually get adopted. They only euthanize animals that are not adoptable because of aggressiveness, injury or other reasons.
She also said they respond immediately to any calls of stray animals.
“If we have a stray or dog on the street we always make sure it’s seen about,” she said.
The new shelter is at 480 Ball Street just south of Tucker Road. It is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Phelps said a grand opening ceremony will be held in February but a date has not been set.