With a private kennel used by the city soon closing, Holts Summit is exploring other options to house animals brought in by animal control — hoping to partner with Fulton temporarily while Holts Summit builds its own shelter.
Holts Summit has used its current facility for decades, but a recent state inspection revealed issues with the building that need to be addressed, and the resident who owns the facility told the city she does not want to continue the service much longer.
"We've been talking with the city of Fulton about a possible interim solution," Holts Summit City Administrator Matt Harline said. "But the plan is still to build our own facility and right size it for us. If the experiment with Fulton goes well, we might try to work out an arrangement with them for overflow."
Harline said officials from both cities likely will meet next week, and if an agreement is successfully worked out, Holts Summit could switch to using its northern neighbor's shelter within the next two months.
Another issue for Holts Summit is the lack of an official agreement with the owner of the current facility — with only a letter of intent to create an agreement which has not been signed by both parties.
Harline said the city has had an official contract for most of its history renting the property but failed to have one for around the last year. The lack of a contract means nothing is binding the owner or the city to the agreement.
Problems found during a May 29 Missouri Department of Agriculture inspection on the kennel included "multiple cracks in the concrete runs on the outside of the sheltered facility," which can accumulate dirt and bacteria, and "horizontal support beams of the chain link kennel panels which were rusted through causing sharp points and jagged edges."
Harline said the issues could be fixed, but it does not make sense for the owner to pay for the repairs when she hopes to stop the service soon.
A new facility would be built to fit Holts Summit's needs, Harline added, and the city could try to set up a more long-term agreement with Fulton to handle overflow. He said the city also likely would need some increase in staffing.
"We have to feed the dogs on Christmas, you know; we can't just say, 'It's cold, it's rainy, it's snowy — I don't want to go feed the dogs. I don't want to feed the kitties,'" Harline said. "If we get a pregnant dog in and they give birth on Christmas Eve, we've got to take care of that."
He said possible locations for a new shelter include near Holts Summit's wastewater treatment plant or near its city hall and police department around Hibernia Station Park.
The city is putting together data from the last several years to build a census and help determine the size of shelter needed, Harline said.