August 19, 2015 Edition

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Proposed Jumpstart Animal
Shelter moving forward

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Plans for establishing an animal shelter in Walnut Ridge are underway. Councilmen voted to allow an agreement between the city and Jumpstart Ministries to be developed.

The city would offer the former Gateway Animal Clinic, which it recently purchased, rent free to the organization to run as a shelter.

A small portion of the back of the facility would be maintained for animal control. The city's code enforcement officer would have a key to that part of the facility though Jumpstart would feed and care for the animals in the animal control for a five-day period, receiving $7.50 per night for animals housed in animal control.

The proposed Jumpstart Animal Shelter would handle animals coming out of animal control and those brought in by citizens.

The shelter would provide a Facebook page and/or website or other methods to try and find the owners of animals in animal control and to aid in the adoption of animals within the shelter.

Jumpstart would also be responsible for maintaining the kennels and property, managing the shelter and offering reasonable business hours.

In exchange for Jumpstart's services for the animal shelter, it has been proposed that the city of Walnut Ridge would supply the building rent free and utilities paid.

The shelter would not be a no-kill shelter, but efforts will be made to adopt out every animal deemed safe and healthy.

"Maybe you couldn't save every pet, but if you can save some of them, that's a good thing," Mayor Charles Snapp said.

The Jumpstart Animal Shelter will not use crosses, religious tracts or related items on the premises, however men going through the program will be the chief laborers at the facility. The shelter will also require the aid of community service workers and volunteers.

The shelter will rely heavily on donations to afford the care of the animals though it could collect some revenue from fees associated with animal control and registration.

In addition, a new animal control ordinance is currently under review by the city council, establishing pet fees and regulations for the city. These fees and animal registration may also be handled through the shelter.

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