Bigger kennels at dog shelter, road projects approved by commissioners

Road and bridge projects and solutions to deal with the large dog population at the county’s dog shelter were the main topics of discussion at the Richland County commissioners’ meeting on Thursday.

Commissioners authorized County Engineer Adam Gove to enter into contracts with the Ohio Department of Transportation for funding for bridge replacement projects on Champion and Coursen Roads and a roadway widening project on Lexington-Springmill Road.

They also authorized expenditures of up to $49,999 in county capital reinvestment funds for new large dog cages and agreed to lower some fees to encourage adoption of the large number of dogs held at the shelter.

The council has accepted a recommendation from Dog Warden Missy Houghton to cut pound fees in half and reduce adoption fees for the month of August.

“We asked what was the biggest barrier to adoption and why there are so many of us and the biggest thing we heard was ‘It’s too expensive to pick up my dog ​​right now,'” Houghton said. .

“We have trouble with dogs”

The impound fee which is $30 for the first day and $10 for each subsequent day will be reduced to $15 on the first day and $5 per day thereafter. Adoption fees will drop from $199 per dog to $150 – $125 for seniors and veterans. Both changes will take effect from August 1 to 31.

“Right now people are struggling with adoption fees and we’re struggling with dogs. It’s a good way to get in the middle,” Houghton says. “Our biggest hope is that if we reduce pound fees, people will pick up their dogs.”

Adoption fees include a spay or neuter, first round of vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, and one-year license fee.

Houghton said the shelter has 78 dogs despite a summer adoption event last weekend and has averaged between 68 and 80 dogs over the past four or five months. She told the council that 40 to 50 dogs is a “comfortable” number for staff to properly clean and conduct behavioral tests.

Houghton said that while the “fat” of the dogs at the shelter are the “pit bull type,” officials don’t adopt dogs that are individually designated as vicious with a history of unprovoked fighting.

“They’re great dogs, but you have to know the type of dog you want and the activity level,” she said. “I tell people not to look at race. There are specific things with breeds but overall look at the characteristics of this dog, the behavior of this dog, as opposed to the breed of this dog.

Houghton will also host after-hours events every Tuesday in August. The event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday and until 6:30 p.m. on the other Tuesdays in August.

Ongoing efforts to reduce the dog population, Houghton said, include joining the Best Friends Network to help send dogs and considering joining Pets for Patriots to help with adoption costs for veterans. She will also apply for a spaying and spaying grant from Ohio license plate sales revenue.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Shor-Line Kennels of Kansas City to replace the kennels on the north side of the building with 10 larger units. The estimated cost of $48,074 will be approximately $6,000 more than the initial estimate discussed at the end of June, as the project now includes a company recommendation to replace the existing galvanized drain pipes with steel pipes. stainless.

The delivery time for the new cages should be four to six weeks.

$1.5 million approved to replace two bridges

In relation to the engineer’s demands, the commissioners have given their approval to move forward on a project estimated at $660,000 to replace a bridge over Champion Road north of London West Road in the township of Plymouth and a bridge over Coursen Road over Steel Run in Perry Township at an estimated cost of $870,000.

The largest project in scope and cost will be to add six feet of paved berm and two feet of unpaved berm to both sides of Lexington-Springmill between Home Road and Marion Avenue at an estimated cost of $1.6 million. dollars. The project corresponds to that carried out a few years earlier in the south of this area.

Federal and/or state funds will cover approximately 90% of the three projects.

Gove said the Champion Road project is expected to be completed in early 2024 under a fast-turnaround design-build pathway, while the Coursen Road bridge will be completed in late 2024 or early 2025 The Lexington-Springmill Road improvement, which includes certain track purchase rights, is expected to be completed in calendar year 2025.

Commissioners Chairman Tony Vero has suggested that some of the $240,000 local matching for the projects could be covered by using some of the $900,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds that have been set aside from aside to replace income from the engineer’s office. Gove said he and county business manager Andrew Keller are looking for ways to use the money.