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Inyo County has taken one more step towards the construction of a new animal shelter in Big Pine.
On Tuesday, the board approved plans and specifications and declared that the project will not have a significant impact on the environment before authorizing Public Works Director Clint Quilter to seek bids for the construction project.
The proposed animal shelter will be located just west of the existing shelter, a converted dairy barn that was built in the 1920s, on County Road in Big Pine.
At Tuesdayâ€™s meeting, Deputy Public Works Director Jim Tatum said the new, 3,3360 square-foot shelter will include 22 indoor/outdoor dog kennels, 24 cat cages, an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restroom, an office and other amenities â€śnecessary for a fully functional animal shelter.â€ť
The new shelter is expected to cost between $675,000 and $700,000. Funding for the building is coming from a combination of county contributions and donations from the community and ICARE of the Eastern Sierra, which has spearheaded the project.
In April 2013, ICARE approached the Board of Supervisors with a plan to utilize the combined pot donated funds and county dollars to build the new shelter.
At the time, local leaders agreed with ICARE President Ted Schade that the current facility is not adequate for the homeless animals living there, or county employees who work there.
Following that meeting, ICARE vowed to undertake the fundraising effort, with Inyo County budgeting $375,000 for the project and the Inyo County Sheriffâ€™s Department contributing $275,000, which was donated by a private citizen for use at the shelter.
â€śI think weâ€™re close,â€ť Schade told the Board Tuesday, explaining that to date, ICARE has $753,000 in its shelter fund. The goal is to raise $800,000, which will pay for construction and other costs, such as furnishing the facility with kennels and other necessities.
For its part, ICARE has donated $93,000. However, Schade said that money came from the organizations spay and neuter program funding. â€śWe would like to cut that back as much as we can,â€ť Schade said. He said that once the $800,0000 goal is reached, ICARE will continue accepting donations and begin reducing its $93,000 contribution in order to maintain its spay and neuter program.
Schade said that donations for the â€śRaise the Roof â€“ A Cause for Pawsâ€ť shelter fundraiser have come in from all over the country, with a number of local businesses and organizations stepping up to the plate with contributions.
ICARE is continuing its fundraising effort, and anyone who would like to donate to the new shelter fund may do so by visiting www.icareforpets.org/.
All donors who make donations of $500 or more will be recognized on a â€śdonor recognition wallâ€ť in a prominent location at the new shelter. Residents can also help purchase equipment for the new shelter. New dog kennels run about $5,000 each, and cat kennels are about $2,500 each.
â€śThis is a great example that when the community supports something thatâ€™s proposed by the county, the community can really step up. Theyâ€™re putting their money where their priorities are,â€ť Schade said last month. â€śA year ago, we were scared that weâ€™d have this huge fundraising effort that wouldnâ€™t go anywhere. Weâ€™re just blown away by the support. But weâ€™re not there yet.â€ť
ICARE decided early this year to postpone its annual ICARE Dinner Fundraiser so volunteers can focus on the Raise the Roof Campaign. But when that announcement was made, three local service groups, the Bishop Noon Rotary, Sunrise Rotary and the Bishop Lions Club, stepped up to fill the need and help with the Raise the Roof campaign at the same time.
The Lions and Rotary clubs will be hosting a spaghetti dinner at the Tri-County Fairgrounds June 28, with proceeds going towards the new shelter fund. Shade said that should be the last contribution before work begins on the new facility.
Tatum said this week that the new shelter should be built and ready for use by the end of the year.
For more information, call ICARE at (760) 872-3802.