The case can be made that responsible animal control speaks volumes about a community.
If that is so, the public-private partnership that created the new Jefferson City Animal Shelter has contributed notably to our quality of life.
An open house will be held today at the new shelter on Hyde Park Road. Tours begin at 11 a.m. and a 5K walk/ run begins at 2 p.m.
The new facility is approximately 10,000 square-feet, nearly double the size of the existing shelter at 919 E. Miller St. It includes 84 cat cages, 53 dog cages and 25 outdoor cages. The cages are capable of holding more than one animal.
A feature at the new shelter is an in-house spay and neutering service, which officials estimate will save the city $50,000 a year.
Other amenities include: outdoor space for the animals to exercise; ample parking and handicap accessibility; high-quality ventilation designed to control the spread of disease; an isolation area to segregate incoming strays; a surgery room; and meeting rooms for instruction and familiarizing families with their new pets.
The $2 million cost of the project includes money from Jefferson City's capital improvement sales tax, Cole County, Friends of the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, Heart of Missouri Humane Society and private donations.
This partnership represents governments, organizations and individuals willing to invest in the health and safety of our community.
If all pet owners acted responsibly, the need to control and shelter unwanted animals would be negligible.
Sadly, that is not the case.
Our community may take comfort, however, in the knowledge that government officials and private citizens are dedicated both to public welfare and the compassionate control of unwanted animals.