The Vicksburg Animal Shelter takes in over 1,000 animals each year that have been rendered homeless under numerous circumstances. They hopes that they can provide a safe, permanent home for all the animals in the future.
After opening in the Kings Community in the 1980s, the shelter began to experience various issues including over-crowding, stressed animals, a lack of interest in adoption and flooding. The flooding is an issue that has proven to be reoccurring.
“When the river floods we have to worry about our facilities flooding,” City of Vicksburg Animal Control Supervisor Kacie Lindsey said. “When we have storms like we’re having today, we have to worry about flash flooding because water gets into the building from flash flooding.
“[Also], there’s no way to separate the animals. They’re pretty much all in the same room, as in: There’s one huge room with dogs and cats in it.
“So we need a building in which we can have a cat ward and a dog ward, and also a quarantine area and better drainage. We have had to evacuate in the past because of river flooding. I know in 2011 there was nearly four feet of water inside of the building.”
In hopes of solving all of these issues, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has introduced plans for a new building to house the shelter and better care for the orphaned animals in residence.
“We are working with the Vicksburg Animal Shelter to look for a location for the building, preferably land that [the City of Vicksburg owns], and that we can build or renovate for the purpose of a better and more modern animal shelter,” said Flaggs. “It is important, and I think it should be a priority.”
To assist with the funding that will comes with the materials and labor for the new building, Flaggs has made a proposal that won’t increase taxes for city residents.
“We have some capital improvement money that we would have to move around,” he said. “This is money that we’ve already set aside for some improvements out of the bond money.”
At this time, neither the city nor the shelter can say how quickly the plans will come together; however, Lindsey says that a new location will help eliminate a considerable number of issues.
“I think a newer facility will help out with adoption for a few reasons,” she said. “One because hopefully we’ll be in a more centrally located area. Two because sometimes people see a shelter and expect everything to be perfect, and this building is just so small with all the animals that we have and all the stuff that we have to hold, so it can get cluttered.
“It would help when we take pictures of the animals. If I take just a regular picture the animal doesn’t get any interest, but if I take a cute picture with a cute background, they get interest. So the better the building looks can have something to do with our adoption numbers.”
According to Lindsey, a new location will provide a more structured living environment for the animals.
“It’ll be easier for people to view the cats and not have them stressed out from the dogs barking,” she said. “It’ll just be easier in the long run, because everyone will be separated, and there won’t be so much chaos going on at one time.”
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