New animal shelter on hold in Marshall, TX

Marshall, TX, animal shelter back to Square One
Published: Aug. 10, 2018 at 2:26 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2018 at 9:42 AM CDT
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MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - The future of a new, $1.2 million animal shelter in Marshall, Texas, is on hold for now.

City commissioners voted against a bond election Thursday evening.

The election in November would have given voters the opportunity to vote for the new animal shelter or funding 14 capital improvement projects.

Thursday's vote was an apparent blow for the animal shelter, as one employee left the meeting early and in tears.

"Not only do we have the oldest shelter in the state of Texas, but we also have an unreasonably high kill rate by modern standards," said Amanda Smith, a proponent for constructing a shelter.

"Our shelter isn't even 1,500 hundred square feet. It's terrible for the people who work there, and it's terrible for the animals."

Marshall city officials said that the kill rate at the animal shelter is 75 percent to 80 percent and that the facility is decades old and crumbling.

"Cities all over the country are building new, low-kill shelters to accommodate today's standards," Smith said. "We need to get there, too."

Jack Redmon, interim city manager, said folks aren't against a new shelter but rather the size and cost of it.

The City Commission approved a 7,900-square-foot shelter in May.

"There is a strong opposition, I think, not to the animal shelter, but to the size of it maybe," Redmon continued.

"There's a very strong group of people who are pro animal shelter and want this and move to a 'low-kill, no kill [shelter]."

Fourteen capital improvement projects also are at a standstill as a result of commissioners' vote Thursday.

Many of the projects would address the city's infrastructure, including enhancing roads, municipal buildings, parking lots and parks.

A petition was submitted in late July pushing for the city to hold a bond election with the two items. It garnered more than 700 signatures.

"We are in opposition to so much money being spent, especially when our infrastructure is terrible and our streets are terrible," said Lenora Reed, a Marshall resident who wants more attention on city streets and buildings.

"We just want the commissioners to be more frugal when spending their money."

The estimated price tag of the capital improvement projects is a grand total of $1.5 million.

Now city commissioners are unlikely to discuss future funding options for the animal shelter for six to eight months.

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