AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Commissioners, County Dog Warden staff and others broke ground on a new $3 million animal shelter along Meridian Road in Austintown.
Those involved with the county dog pound have been pushing for a new shelter for years. Members of the Friends of Fido group took it upon themselves to raise money for it.
“That’s our objective. In reality, we’re helping the dogs by helping the pound and their new building,” Trish Collins said.
The new shelter on Meridian Road in Austintown and will eventually replace the current facility in Youngstown. That shelter was built 40 years ago and was never meant to hold more than a couple dozen animals at any one time.
“These kinds of facilities were built to house an animal for three days and then they were euthanized. The public doesn’t want to see that anymore,” said Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne Fry.
“We’ll have small dog areas, puppy areas, so that many of these dogs can decompress and you can actually see their personality. It won’t be all stress,” she said. “A lot of what happens in our building is these dogs never have a chance to settle down, and you don’t really get to see their personality until somebody takes them home, and that’s where problems come in.”
Fry said the new Mahoning County Dog Pound will have much better ventilation and plumbing than the current pound.
“We’ll have exercise areas for the dogs, every run will have its own drainage, we’ll have different air systems so sick dogs won’t impact healthy dogs or vice versa.”
It will also have increased security. In May, surveillance video caught someone stealing a dog from the pound in broad daylight.
“We will have 36 cameras. In fact, at this point in time, we’ll be one of the more secure buildings in the county, aside from the jails,” Fry said.
Although money set aside from dog licenses and other fees will cover most of the cost for the new shelter, Friends of Fido will be fundraising as well to help reduce the burden.
“I think there’s a lot of people that are looking forward to having the dogs having a new place to call their home, and so I don’t know if it will be that difficult,” Collins said.
Construction should be complete in about a year.
For more information on how you can help the Friends of Fido’s fundraising efforts, go to their website or call Trish Collins at 330-717-2151.