Carbon County officials released a report regarding the operation of the county dog shelter, and there is work to be done at the aging facility.
On Thursday, the board of commissioners spoke about the findings of the report, completed by the Lehigh County Humane Society, in conjunction with PCoRP, the county’s insurance company.
An on-site assessment took place on April 28 at the shelter and covered operations, animal care, employees and the relationship between the shelter, volunteers and the community.
Commissioner Rocky Ahner said he was working to resolve items in the report, including lighting, dog blankets, window replacements and paving of the area in front of the shelter to make it easier to walk.
“We’re going to try to straighten out some of these things,” he said. “We will try to eliminate some of these shortcomings.”
He thanked volunteers and donors for all of their support for the shelter over the years and wants the county to show donors that the money is being used to improve the shelter.
Commissioner Chris Lukasevich said the council’s reason for asking the humane society to conduct the assessment was to “help us understand where we can do better” as long as the county runs the facility.
According to the report, the humane society noted that the animals at the shelter “were in good condition and cared for. The facility is generally in good condition, but needs several repairs and modifications. The facility is understaffed and therefore cannot provide adequate supervision of volunteers or socialization of animals. The animal shelter has numerous liability risks for the county that must be addressed immediately.
Regarding the installation, the company recommended constructing a handicap accessible parking bay and ramp, removing gravel and covering the parking area, leveling the playground and re-gravelling or planting grass; and replacing exterior light fixtures and broken windows and screens.
Additionally, the county should replace outdoor kennels and provide shaded areas for dogs.
Inside the facility, repairs include developing a cleaning schedule, installing a fire alarm system, repairing water damage to the ceiling, hiring a pest control company and the implementation of a plan on maintenance requests.
As for staff, the department is understaffed, the company said. He also noted that there is no training and that a volunteer workforce should be trained to help with operations.
The society also recommended creating a volunteer dog-walking program and using the outdoor playground more often.
Lukasevich read part of the report’s conclusion, which states, “This is a functional animal holding facility. This is not an adoption center, community outreach or medical facility. Animals are underserved in the current environment and are at risk in certain situations.
“The director of the shelter seems to be overworked and not sufficiently trained for his position. There are several areas of exposure to liability in the volunteer program, the adoption process, and the facility itself. Many of the problems presented here can be solved relatively quickly and inexpensively, while others will require more time and financial support.
“I believe this facility can be a productive animal sanctuary that serves both the animals and the people of Carbon County if given the necessary resources and support,” the report said.
Lukasevich said the county knows there is a passion for dog care and that shelter manager Tom Connors is dedicated to dogs.
He also noted that the county is working to increase salaries and staffing to alleviate some of the issues.
“We are committed to running the best facility possible and will continue to work with the Lehigh County Humane Society and PCoRP and of course Tom to realize some of the study recommendations,” Lukasevich said.
Connors echoed County’s thoughts and was grateful for the assessment, although he hasn’t had a chance to fully review it yet.
“I really appreciate that the group came to Carbon County to help us, with the evaluation,” Connors said. “I think it was good of the commissioners to invite them. They were very helpful.
“Our shelter here is showing age and needs to be invested in,” he added, noting that many people in the county, as well as across the state, have sent in donations to help with the operations of the shelter. and take care of the dogs. .
He said the much-needed upgrades will make the facility “better for the dogs, safer for the staff” and more welcoming to the community.
The staff, consisting of Connors and two part-timers, work with a trainer to better train themselves.
He said the three were doing their best with what was available to them. Connors, who is known as a dog whisperer for his animal-friendly nature, goes out looking for dogs at all hours, day and night, to help police who receive calls about abandoned dogs, found or lost.
“We are proud of the work we do, but we need help and we welcome help,” he said. “We have some problems and we are solving them.
“We can learn from each other.”
To view the full report, visit the county’s website at www.carboncounty.com. It can be found under Animal Shelter / K-9 under Departments.
The Carbon County Animal Shelter at 63 Broad St., Nesquehoning on the Broad Mountain is showing its age and an assessment shows the facility needs repairs and modifications to function better for dogs, staff and the community. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS