The felines were not pleased with the morning’s activities. From their second story cages, kittens Adam and sister Milly meowed their complaints from behind the bars of the portable unit that had just been carried across the parking lot to the new temporary animal shelter facility on West Warlow Drive.
The other kittens chimed in as staff member Carolyn Sears and volunteer Rebecca Haskins stopped by briefly to scratch their heads as they finished setting up the rows of cages in the new cat room on the first floor. They and other staff braved the single-digit temps in their thick parkas as they busily moved the nearly 30 cats and set up the dog cages in the basement.
“We ask for a lot of patience because this is going to be difficult not only for the public, but for the animals, causing a higher stress level as it is not going to be a quiet area,” City of Gillette Animal Control Officer Brittany Moreno said.
The temporary shelter will offer limited services during the four-to-six-month transition period as the regular animal shelter building undergoes renovations. The city recently approved $834,000 for a new roof, membrane and insulation system, replacement of water-damaged walls, reception area upgrades, concrete block walls in all washdown areas, and LED lighting and skylights.
Due to the limited space during the transition period, staff will only be accepting unwanted pet surrenders by appointment. If people are not missing a pet or have one in mind for adoption, shelter staff warn the public may be asked to come back after the move back to the renovated facility.
Moreover, the temporary pet area and public access will be limited, so citizens are urged to check out the shelter’s Petfinder.com listings prior to coming in for a visit or to have a specific dog or cat in mind for adoption.
Stray animals will be accepted as usual at the shelter, and holding periods will be between three to five days. If a pet isn’t claimed during that time, it will be adopted “or euthanized as an absolute last resort,” according to Moreno. Citizens are asked to come look for missing animals the day they go missing.
Before bringing an unwanted pet to the shelter, the owner is asked to first put up a poster, add the pet on the shelter’s Petfinder.com page, and do background checks or home checks for re-homing within the City of Gillette using any of the several community online pages. There will also be a waiting list for cage or kennel space.
The hours of the temporary shelter, located across the parking lot from the original shelter at 950 W. Warlow Dr., are Monday to Friday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shelter is closed on Sundays and holidays. For more information, call (307) 686-5249.