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PD official: Budget for new Animal Control shelter intact

A high-ranking official in the Clayton County Police Department said work on a new Animal Control Center remains on track to be completed in June 2015. Animal Control is a division of the police department. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

A high-ranking official in the Clayton County Police Department said work on a new Animal Control Center remains on track to be completed in June 2015. Animal Control is a division of the police department. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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This empty lot on Government Circle in Jonesboro is one of two sites Clayton County police are considering for a new facility for their Animal Control division. Deputy Chief Gina Hawkins said this site remains the department’s “preferred” location, but she also said a final location will be chosen based on which site is more likely to promote pet adoptions. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — Funding for a new Animal Control shelter will not be cut, a high-ranking Clayton County police official confirmed Monday.

Deputy Chief Gina Hawkins said there is no truth to rumors that all is not well with construction on a new shelter. The facility, which is still in the design stage, was approved by voters six years ago as part of the 2009 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program.

Clayton News Daily readers approached the newspaper over the weekend and said they’d heard rumors that the construction budget for the shelter had been cut by $2 million.

“That’s just a rumor,” said Hawkins. “Nothing has been cut. The budget is still $4.2 million.”

Hawkins said the shelter remains “on track” to be completed in June 2015. However, that’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. The recent ice storms delayed planning meetings on the new shelter, she said.

As a result, she said police and construction officials have been meeting with the facility’s designers in back-to-back all-day meetings Monday and Tuesday to get the shelter back on schedule. Animal Control is a division of the police department.

“We wanted to stay on track to meet our June 2015 target date so we said, ‘Hey, let’s take some of these issues that would normally be discussed over several meetings and address them in two all-day meetings,” Hawkins said.

Among the topics discussed in the meetings were design issues, such as what type of kennels should be used in the facility, said Hawkins. She said participants in the meetings also discussed whether the new shelter should still be built on what is considered a “preferred site” across Government Circle from the existing Animal Control facility.

In January, Hawkins confirmed the police department discovered during preliminary planning that the preferred site was a former landfill. Reports showed “it’s going to take some work” to make that site suitable for the facility, Hawkins said Monday.

Hawkins said an alternative, county-owned site is being considered, but she declined to say where that property is located. The deciding factor, she said, will be a site that encourages residents to visit and adopt animals.

The facility will be designed to be flexible enough that it can go on either site, Hawkins said.

“We want people to say ‘I want to go in there and adopt an animal’ when they look at this facility so we want to put it in a location that’s going to promote adoptions,” Hawkins said. “If it’s a nice facility, people are more likely to visit.”