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The Jefferson City Animal Shelter is working on improvements to benefit its furry residents.

Efforts include replacing dishwashers, installing weather-sealing dog kennel flaps and re-laying the crematorium floor.

The shelter's current dishwashers are residential-style, which means they take longer and don't get hot enough for the shelter's needs, Jefferson City Police Department officer Lt. Chad Stieferman said during an Animal Shelter Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday.

The Jefferson City Animal Shelter is overseen by the Police Department.

For instance, some diseases aren't killed off unless the temperature is more than 130 degrees F.

"Some of them are resistant to the sanitizers and different things we were using," he said. "Their lifespan was able to live through some of that."

The shelter has requested $14,415 from its operating budget to cover the purchase and installation of two commercial dishwashers.

The new dishwashers would complete a load in 90 seconds, Stieferman said.

While they will be the same size and fit in the same place as the current dishwashers, the new ones would have only one tray, which means it will be easier to wash items such as litter boxes, toys, and food and water dishes.

"You're dropping your biohazard contamination dramatically," Stieferman said. "We're going to be able to put a lot more stuff in those than what we can do now. We'll be able to run more loads through it, and it's just going to be more energy efficient."

Another part of the shelter's funding request is to install 25 weather-sealing dog kennel flaps.

The estimated installation cost is $2,550. The shelter has already purchased the flaps.

These flaps will go on the outside kennel doors and help keep outside air from entering the shelter, improving living conditions for the animals when the weather is hot or cold.

"We'll be able to climate control those living areas better, and the HVAC system won't be running 24/7 trying to keep those areas under control," Stieferman said.

The Jefferson City Council reviewed the request during its Monday meeting and will be able to vote on it at the April 5 meeting.

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The shelter is also looking into re-laying the crematorium floor.

The crematorium is used to process animals' remains. It processes remains from area veterinarians as well as from the animal shelter and animal control, and it is used almost daily, Stieferman said.

The fire brick was laid a few years ago but needs replaced again because the heat has broken away parts of it over time, he said. The floor will be a poured material this time rather than another round of brick, he said, which is how the crematorium was designed.

He has reached out to other locations with animal crematoriums for references and talked to those companies.

Stieferman said there are plans for the Humane Society and Friends of the Jefferson City Animal Shelter group to contribute funding to the project. The project is still in bid, which means an exact price isn't known at this point.

Stieferman said JCPD wants to look into developing a regular funding stream for crematorium repairs.

One potential option, he explained, would be to charge private veterinarians a certain amount for using the crematorium, with those fees going toward future maintenance.

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