About one year ago Sydney Miguez, a student at Bridge City Intermediate School, discovered that the conditions at the city animal shelter were in great need of improvement. She tried to call attention to the problem by starting a “Paper for Pets” campaign at her school.

Since that time, several concerned citizens have expressed the desire see improvements made to the animal shelter. Sydney’s mother, Tracy Miguez is forming an action group to address the problem and offer assistance.

The Animal Control Department is under the jurisdiction of Chief of Police Steve Faircloth. Faircloth is aware of and also concerned about the conditions at the shelter.

 “There has been a small amount of reserve money that has been spent to repair some broken windows and do other repairs,” he said. The major repairs will have to be placed for bid and the cost of those repairs and the budget for them will have to be approved by the City Council.

The city is under a time limit to bring the shelter into compliance with state regulations for animal shelters. Faircloth, along with others is moving as fast as time allows.

A contractor who was to bid on replacing the fencing of the runs in the kennel area came to the shelter to estimate the work and did not follow through the bidding process.
“He left his card in the door and we never saw or heard from him again” Faircloth said.
The city purchasing director has since taken over the job of obtaining bids for replacement of the fencing for the runs and for a new roof over the entire building. The present roof is a flat roof of tar and small rock.

“It is not the type of roof for our area and we are going to replace it with a pitched roof more suited for our area” Faircloth said.

Included in the project will be bringing the old electrical system into compliance with current electrical code. The building was built more than 30 years ago and needs a major overhaul. As part of that improvement a bid will be requested on a new replacement of the combination heating and air conditioning unit for the building.

The plumbing will be inspected and needed repairs and upgrades will be considered, along with the other work. The city has agreed to install carport-type covers at each end of the building in the unloading areas.

Faircloth said “the dogs being brought in for unloading must be kept in dry conditions. This is a part of the state code for shelters.”

He also said “the code regulations for animal shelters are very numerous and complex and we are doing what we can to comply to the best of our ability.”

When the work to the shelter is completed to the point that the floor is ready to be re-coated, Faircloth and Animal Control Officer Stacey The citizens group hopes to help improve the shelter by conducting a fund raising-campaign, if the city grants them the authority to do so.

The group wants the city to provide properly for the dogs confined under the dangerous dog ordinance recently passed by the City Council. There are currently two kennels for dogs impounded that fall under that category. Faircloth said “we believe that that will be adequate.” If there is a need to further examine the problem Faircloth will be willing to do so.

Another concern for the group is that an isolation area is needed to isolate animals that may have a contagious condition such as parvo or kennel cough. “These are dogs that have been picked up on the street and no one really knows their condition”, Mrs. Miguez said.

Belinda Broom of the citizens group became concerned about the shelter after she visited it.

“I went to the shelter to take some old bedding I had after my dog died. I was appalled by the condition of the place” she said.

Broom and Miguez met and started discussing what they could do about the situation.
Miguez said “I am in the process of forming a committee or action group to address the problem. I am writing a letter to the city to try to be placed on the agenda for the Feb. 5 city council meeting. We should have an action plan to present at that time.”

“I am concerned about the dogs in the shelter and would like to see conditions improved for them. I would be willing to donate my time or money if that would help,” Broom said.

The women said they do not want to complain about a problem and not be willing to help with the solution.

The city website has a page for the Animal Control Department with nformation about the shelter. The shelter is on Filter Plant Road across from the Middle School.