Down with the old, up with the new

Demolition of the old Lincoln County Animal Shelter building has been expedited after an emergency declaration from the county. While dogs have been brought into the dog yard to get exercise, no animals are currently being kept in the building. (Photos by Stephanie Blair)

Shelter fast-tracked for demolition as plans for new facilities arise

NEWPORT — The Lincoln County Animal Shelter’s condemned building has been fast-tracked for demolition, and shelter staff is moving forward on finding or creating a temporary space to serve more county animals until the new facility can be built.

After mold testing in July, the Lincoln County Animal Shelter was closed due to dangerous levels of mold found inside the building — which were making staffers sick through exposure. After an abatement specialist inspected the facility, the determination was made to tear down the old structure and build a new facility.

Laura Braxling, director of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, told the News-Times that the county declared an emergency on Tuesday to expedite the demolition of the mold-ridden building and is currently taking bids for the project, though they do not have a firm start date yet.

A few buildings for relocating the shelter have been considered already, but none worked out or fit the criteria needed for the shelter to effectively operate. So, on Wednesday, the shelter staff met to discuss possible plans for a temporary modular facility they could build until the new, permanent facility is constructed if no other location can be found to house the shelter.

“Obviously, if there are some types of buildings that we can continue to use afterward (when the new building is built) we want to do that as well,” said Braxling.

The talk included discussions about how much space would be needed for cats and dogs, how to accommodate the need for an exam room, how much quarantine space would be needed and so on. The primary components for this potential camp would be modular buildings, trailers and prefab kennels — and all of it would be set up on the footprint of the demolished shelter.

As for where the new structure will be built, Braxling said the county is looking into a few locations, but if none of the sites pan out, then the determination will be made to rebuild on the footprint of the old structure.

“Having a footprint where we could expand would be ideal,” said Braxling, “but at some point, we need to move forward and get a new building.”

Until expanded temporary facilities are secured, the shelter remains in flux. But staff and volunteers are working hard to keep all the same services available to the public, including taking in strays and surrendered animals, hosting adoption events and holding animals for those who can’t care for their pets temporarily — among other things. As they continue to work out of the emergency trailer and fairgrounds facilities, the shelter is regularly transferring animals to other shelters in neighboring communities so that they are never overcapacity or have to turn anyone away.

“Like all of it,” said Braxling, “we’ll continue to make it work and just soldier along … ultimately, it’s very exciting to know that we’re going to have a new building, and it’s going to be great.”

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