Cass County is reviewing animal shelter options

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BEARDSTOWN — Cass County officials are exploring options to build a new animal shelter in Beardstown that would have more room for dogs and potentially space for cats.

Council Chairman Michael Barnett said the county is considering a new site to move the shelter that would be more assessable.

“About 73% of dogs are picked up in Beardstown,” Barnett said. “It will give easy access for people and volunteers. Dog owners who need to pick up their dogs will be closer.”

The current shelter is located in Virginia in a county-owned building. Currently, the building houses the offices of the County Highways Department. However, these offices are going to be moved to new facilities after some updates and the sale of the current building.

The new animal control facility will be placed on land purchased by the City of Beardstown and donated to the cause, Barnett said.

Barnett said plans are underway, but changes will likely be made after receiving a higher-than-expected cost estimate.

“It was higher than we expected,” Barnett said. “We got an estimate of $404,396, more than double what we expected. These were not bids, just a cost estimate based on material costs.”

The council is still exploring financing options for the project, including looking at grants and money from the sale of the current freeway office building.

Plans for the building will need to be reassessed, Barnett said.

“At this point we need to look at the building plans and see what we can do and what needs to be removed,” Barnett said.

Board members overseeing the project will begin looking at other options next week.

One of the goals of the new shelter was to include space for cats. The existing building does not have a place for cats.

“One thing that several communities wanted was to include cats,” Barnett said. “The problem is the number of cats. There are a lot of homeless cats

The new facility will also be able to focus more on adoptions. Cass County Animal Control has ties with other organizations to help with their adoptions.

“When they get a dog and they can’t find an owner, the hope is always adoption rather than euthanasia,” Barnett said. “Well, I hope I can do more.”

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