EDITORIAL: Shelter depends on community

A committee of the Oak Harbor City Council is making good progress in studying what ails the animal shelter and what can be done to improve the facility and its operating conditions.

As reported numerous times in this newspaper, the shelter operates on a minimal budget with a bare-bones facility that, being on the Navy base, is inconvenient to access for non-military families. The present contractor is doing the best he can, but with limited resources that’s not good enough when measured against today’s standards for animal shelters.

The contract to operate the facility is just about ready for renewal, but let’s face it -- the ultimate solution is not to keep the existing shelter and try to operate it with marginally more dollars from the city.

What Oak Harbor needs is a new animal shelter in a better location, coupled with an enormous infusion of citizen volunteers to help with construction and, most importantly, operation of the facility.

Whidbey Island is home to hundreds of people willing to donate their time and money to help homeless dogs and cats. The city must reach out to these folks and start planning together for Oak Harbor’s future animal shelter. Miracles can be achieved with the right balance of enthusiastic volunteers, public seed money and determination.

It’s time to stop talking about the existing animal shelter and to start making plans for the new one.

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