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Animal shelter to see million-dollar upgrade

A dog awaits adoption at the Bossier City Animal Shelter. Space is hard to come by and should be remedied thanks to planned upgrades by city leadership. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Much needed upgrades are on their way to the Bossier City Animal Control shelter.

In October, the City of Bossier City voted to use $60 million worth of bonds to make upgrades to various elements such as new roads, expansion of current roads, animal control, parks and recreation, and a new council on aging building.

Roughly $1.5 to $2 million of the funding will go towards expanding the current Animal Control Shelter facility. It’s welcome news to the ears of Dale Keeler, superintendent of Herbicide, Mosquito and Animal Control.

“We are currently in the preliminary stages of drawing up plans right now. We hope to be breaking ground sometime next year. We are hoping to build a new adoption wing and make some upgrades that are needed to the facility,” Keeler said.

At this time the Bossier Animal Control Shelter facility has 100 cages to house animals, roughly 10 working employees, and countless volunteers who come in on a daily basis.

With such a small facility, space is a premium, for both employees and visitors.

“At this moment we are struggling with how small our facility is. It’s old and a little outdated. Our lobby area is very small. It’s a cramped space to have to deal with animal control and adoption needs on a daily basis,” Keeler said.

Additional upgrades that Keeler would like to see include additional storage space for animal supplies, expanded office space for personnel, and an updated animal treatment room.

“What we also need is a new storage space for animal supplies. We are so cramped with space right now we don’t have enough room to store dog food and it is hard to get to. We want to open the inside up a little more to make it less cramped. Maybe some more office space and we also want to update the treatment room for the animals,” Keeler said.

The upgrades to the shelter also won’t cost taxpayers any money.

Debt service on the bonds will be paid via a redirected sales tax.

Citizens passed a .25 cent sales tax in 1982 to go towards funding a police and fire pension. Since the pension has been fully funded, the ordinance says that portion of sales tax can now be used by the city for improvements.

“The new facility will be better for the animals that are housed there, as well as the citizens of Bossier Parish who come there,” said Keeler.

The Bossier Animal Control Shelter is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with adoption hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.