Kansas City’s new Jackson county animal shelter is set to open in April. The facility has been sitting vacant since contruction was completed in August 2012.
According to original plans, the shelter at 21001 E 78 Highway in Independence, Missoui was slated to be managed by the City of Independence. That changed when the county and the city could not come to an agreement on terms. Though a 2009 contract specified that the city would run the shelter, some county legislators had doubts that the shelter could be run as a "No Kill shelter" as originally intended. The county then sent out a call for proposals from animal welfare organizations and a proposal by Great Plains SPCA was accepted.
But the city and the continued to negotiate terms to modify the contract they had made in 2009.. In Deecember it was thought the shelter might open in January 2013. But the Independence City Council met still had to approve the deal and they were not satisfied. Some worried too about a few Independence city employees who might lose their jobs.
Under the agreement GreatPlainsSPCA will run the shelter for the next 5 years, the city will pay the county $435, 000 annually to run the facility. The county will reimburse the city for some equipment they purchased when they prepared to run the shelter and for some severance pay for city employees.
The county will also pay utility costs for the shelter in an amount not to exceed $130,000 a year.
Though the shelter will cost an estinmated 1.3 million a year to run Great Plains SPCA head Courtney Thomas is confident her organization can raise the funds,to cover a nearly $750,000 shortfall.
"The community's been waiting for this for quite a long time," said Courtney Thomas, the CEO of the Great Plains SPCA, which will operate the facility as a no-kill shelter.
Thomas said she helped plan the inside of the 28,000-square-foot facility, which is part animal spa, part playroom and part state-of-the-art veterinary clinic. "We work very hard so that during their temporary stay, the pets could have reduced stress" she said.
A page on Great PlainsSPCA website reads;
"This is a day to celebrate! We will soon be saving even more lives with the shelter in Independence. This afternoon, the Jackson County legislature voted to pass the amendments presented by the City Council. Today marks the end of a multi-month journey to determine operation.
We applaud the Jackson County legislature and City Council for their help in a progressive leap for needy animals in our community."
Great Plains SPCA also operates a shelter, alow cost clinic and lost pets center in Merriam Kansas. Visit Great Plains SPCA website at www.greatplainsspca.org