TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Animal Welfare is making plans for a much-needed expansion. But now, thanks to the pandemic, they're nearly a million dollars short of what they need to finish the project.
“Our facility is inadequate, just bottom line," said Marshelle Freeman, interim manager for Tulsa Animal Welfare.
The dog kennels are full at Tulsa Animal Welfare as the shelter reaches capacity - again.
“When they built the shelter, it was mainly built for just a facility where they held animals," said Jamee Suarez, commissioner of the Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission. "People didn’t come here really much to adopt. It wasn’t really friendly for adoption. Shelters have evolved since that time.”
Tulsa Animal Welfare commissioners toured the facility Monday evening. Shelter employees showed why it’s needing more room.
Tulsa Animal Welfare received $4.7 million as part of this year’s city budget for the expansion. But it turned out to not be enough as building costs went up during the pandemic.
“With construction costs and material costs rising, we’re unable to provide Tulsa with a world-class facility that they need and that animals require and that was promised to them," Freeman said.
Tulsa Animal Welfare needed an additional $3.4 million. Freeman said Tulsa City Council approved $2.5 million of COVID relief funds to go to the shelter. And for the remaining $900,000, they’re turning to the county to help. They said county commissioners could vote on that funding as soon as the end of this month.
That expansion funding will pay for things such as a new adoption center, more kennel space and green space for walking trails.
“There are a lot of things that we could do better if we had more space," Freeman said. "Just the general care of the animals, we won’t have to double up on kennels, we’d be able to provide more enrichment to our animals and allow them more freedom outside if we had more space and more staff.”
Even with that $900,000, the shelter is planning to meet with design teams soon to figure out what they can do until they hopefully receive those funds.
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