This letter is in reference to the front page article entitled "Utility Hook-ups Left Out of the Animal Shelter Budget." Members of Regional Animal and Pet Shelter Foundation determined that several of the comments in the article required clarification for complete understanding. We also feel it is important for citizens to know that as appointed committee members of the community, our 5 year working relationship with the city administration and staff has been an open two-way working relationship. Before addressing the issues, we would like to briefly provide some background on the foundation board and its intended purpose.
The Regional Animal Shelter Steering Committee was originally commissioned by former mayor Bill Standley nearly five years ago as a steering committee charged to be the community contact for raising community awareness and funds for the project. In 2011, the steering committee evolved into a 501C3 foundation (Regional Animal and Pet Shelter Foundation, Inc.) and continues to serve at the pleasure of Mayor Tommy Roberts. The steering committee was commissioned to raise $500,000 to purchase the facility upgrades such as the furnishings, equipment, cages and kennels. We were also directed to give the community opportunities to take ownership of the project by promoting permanent room, cage and kennel sponsorships.
As so often is the case, with as much interest as has been shown the project, some information needs to be clarified in the "Utility Hook-ups..." front page article from the April 23rd issue of the Farmington Daily Times
• The $500,000 raised from within the community does not go to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. It goes to upgrades of furnishings, highly functional dog and cat cages and appliance upgrades such as commercial washing machines, dryers and a dishwasher.
• As to the location site, comments from the community have overwhelmingly been in support of the Browning Parkway/Municipal Operation Center site. Its accessibility to the public, welcoming design and its adjacent location to the Animas Park lends to the intended purpose to increase pet adoptions. The San Juan County Commissioners have stated they are also pleased with its location as the shelter will be centrally located in the county.
• With the $500,000 raised from the community added to the $4 million budgeted by the city and county for shelter construction, we will have a first class, "A" facility. The shelter design will utilize space efficiently without compromising care areas and living space for the animals. The architectural firm and the shelter design consultant did extensive planning and incorporated operational efficiency in its design.
Note that two additional animal care technicians have recently been hired at the current shelter, providing 5 support staff each day. It is the staff at the shelter who are truly the "heart" of proper animal care and who contribute most to the overall animal welfare goal of reducing euthanasia and increasing animal adoptions. Already, many volunteers from the community are expressing interest in helping at the new shelter.
We hope that these comments help concerned citizens to better understand the facts and processes involved in building the new regional animal shelter. If you have questions, please contact one of our board members. After nearly five years the new Regional Animal Shelter is finally a reality with construction well under way. We will be inviting all animal lovers to come and celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be scheduled some time this fall. It is because of the outstanding community support of our fund-raising campaign that we can all take pride in having a class "A" animal shelter. Thank you citizens of Farmington and San Juan County for your part in making this dream come true!