It's a good day for metro animal lovers. Monday, the Jackson County Legislature and Independence city officials finally struck a deal to open the brand-new animal shelter that has sat unused in Independence for many months. The shelter will open January 1 and be a no-kill (meaning less than 10 percent of animals will be euthanized) operated by Great Plains SPCA.
The Star explains that the deal to operate the $5.3 million, 27,000-square-foot facility is a little bit complicated. Initially, Jackson County paid for it, and Independence was going to pay to operate it. But after concerns were raised over the budget allotment that Independence made for it, the shelter sat empty since August. Under the new deal, Independence is still technically the shelter operator, but it in turn will hire Jackson County to manage it, and the county will hire Great Plains SPCA.
It might be a little confusing, but there's no question the county needed the new shelter to be opened. In 2011, The Pitch reported on conditions at the Independence Animal Shelter. Several volunteers had complained that animals were mistreated at the facility and that the shelter was poorly run. The shelter manager, Aimee Wells, denied most of the claims when she spoke with The Pitch at the time. Wells, like city officials, told us that the facility will be a huge improvement over the rundown previous building. One perk that volunteers and the animals will certainly be happy with: The new building is air-conditioned.