New shelter plan isn’t perfect, but it’s a sensible one | In our opinion

Animal shelters, full of wayward and unwanted pets, are never happy places.

For years, Oak Harbor’s animal shelter has been more miserable than it should be.

The current shelter is located in a dilapidated building hidden away on the Navy’s Seaplane Base.

It doesn’t have ventilation or sewer service.

While it was in good faith the Navy allowed the city to use the building for the animal shelter, conditions are bad enough it’s being shut down.

City officials have come up with a potential long-term solution.

The council approved a lease with the option to purchase the Freedom Kennels on Goldie Road. The plan is to convert it into an animal shelter that will open this fall.

It comes with a cost.

The lease will be $2,500 a month, plus an additional $10,000 for the option to purchase. Bringing the facility up to the standards necessary for public animal shelters may run cost as much as $20,000.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a good one.

The facility was built in the 1970s and has limited space for cats. It comes on 7.2 acres of land that the city doesn’t really need.

Under the option agreement, the city has three years before deciding whether to purchase the kennel for $267,000.

It’s enough time to determine whether it’s the right long-term solution.

Given its many limitations, Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation did a good job running the current facility under a contract with the city.

Members of the nonprofit group said they are pleased with the prospects of moving the shelter somewhere with a higher profile and easier access.

Some people may critical of the city for spending money on other people’s pets, but the fact is, people do dump their animals, and some wander from home. It’s not the animals fault, and not addressing the issue of stray dogs would have its own repercussions.

Purchasing an existing facility instead of building is a sensible option.


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