Construction on the Phillips County Animal Control Center is complete – the fence is up but the parking lot is bare and no lights are on. With the construction finally finished many are wondering what is going on with the shelter and is it even open.
“The shelter is not up and running just yet,” commented Humane Society of the Delta Director Beth Florek.
According to Florek, construction ended in mid-May and so far no open-for-business activity has begun. The HSD originally deeded some property for the animal control center, which is expected to be operated with the shelter side by side to create a more productive effort in maintaining the overrun animal population properly, but the facility is yet to open.
“It's up and ready. However, there are still some minor details that need to be ironed out,” commented Phillips County Judge Don Gentry.
“We hope to iron out the rules and regulations of the operation for the facility at our quorum court meeting July 9,” said Gentry.
The Animal Control Center eventually will provide a pick-up- stray service that will take animals that have become a nuisance in the surrounding areas and provide a place to locate any pets that have gone missing if picked up.
According to Florek, the adoption shelter and the control center will remain two entities but will partner together for one good cause.
“The HSD is volunteering their time in collaboration with the animals center and is not receiving any funding for the adoption facility,” said Florek.
Florek added that both the shelter and the center will maintain their own separate identities but will be working in collaboration with the animal control center to ensure that those animals that can be saved are adopted into forever homes.
Florek went onto say that the county applied for a matching grant that would enable it to get a hold on the over populated stray situation in Helena-West Helena, Marvell, Elaine, Lake View, Lexa and the unincorporated areas of Phillips County. “Each city has expressed that they want to be actively involved in this partnership,” continued Florek.
Florek stated that the ACC would work with all strays that are sick, and unadoptable due to illness or bad temperament.
Dr. Holt Pittman of Delta Regional Animal Hospital and his staff will be the primary veterinarian for both facilities. Florek added that euthanasia services would be provided at the center but that the partnership between the two facilities will ensure that all other options are exhausted first before the final decision is made.
In April, Chamber of Commerce Executive director Doug Friedlander told the Helena-West Helena City Council that there is not enough money in just one municipality in Phillips County to do this alone.
Page 2 of 2 - “Together, we can afford something that we desperately need,” he told the council. “We have not had adequate animal control in the last several years and we could all benefit from this.”
During that council session, the city proposed good faith in the resolution that states that they would provide two full-time staff members from the Sanitation Department to serve as countywide animal control officers.
According to Gentry, it is anticipated that the facility will have its grand around Aug. 1.
“Every city has paid a percentage of this countywide effort and we are looking forward to opening this new chapter for our Phillips County residents,” stated Gentry.