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NO-KILL ANIMAL SHELTER: Okmulgee County Humane Society buys new building

Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 20:25:03-04

OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Okmulgee County Humane Society recently bought a new building that will add more shelter space in the city.

The organization is currently sharing space with the Okmulgee Animal Shelter. However, overcrowding and limited kennels are causing issues for the organization.

"In a kill city shelter, they only have so much time and we can only pull what we can if we have space available," said Amanda Fike the organization's veterinarian assistant.

She stopped by after two separate people dropped off boxes with five kittens in each.

For the shelter staff, animal euthanasia is a daily reality for the employees.

The moment you walk into the shelter, the space is small but feels inviting. There are dog toys and animal outfits but the feeling of the kennel room is dark and muggy.

The OCHS said it tries to save as many animals as possible but is limited due to city ordinances and kennel space.

Babs Martin is the director of OCHS. She said it only gets four kennels to house the dogs for up to fourteen days.

"The animal control officer will bring an animal in and it has 72 hours for the owner to claim it. If we have open kennels at this time the city is allowing us four kennels, that are in the back. Then we have an additional 14 days to place them," Martin said.

She told me if the humane society fills its four kennels and a dog reaches the 72-hour mark. It will be euthanized.

That is the tragic event that happened when 2 News stopped by. While in there a young man was in the lobby hoping to see his dog.

Instead of the city animal control officer, the humane society broke the news to the young man. They said the dog was there longer than the allotted 72 hours and was euthanized earlier that day.

After that situation 2 News asked why the dog wasn't kept in one of the empty kennels. They said due to the city ordinances the staff must follow the rules.

The new building obtained by the humane society will provide additional space for no-kill kennels.

"This will mean we will be able to save more animals. We won’t be limited to just the four kennels that we have here, so we will be able to take in more," Martin said.

While the architect is still drafting rendering the space may include up to thirty kennels, a cat room and a yard area.

OCHS credits the purchase to a $750,000 grant from the Sam Viersen Family Foundation. Those funds will help renovate the old 1920s building.

"What we really look forward to being able to offer a happy cheerful space that our staff looks forward to coming into every day. Also adopters and fosters and volunteers," said OCHS Board President Aimee Robinson.

Along with kennel areas, a veterinarian station, lobby and more staff offices are planned.

They also hope to host adoption and fostering events for the community.

For now, they will stay in the city's animal shelter until the building is complete.

The building is expected to be completed in 2025.

If you would like to foster or adopt a dog from OCHS visit its website here.

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