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Council approves $1.2 million contract for Huntsville Animal Services renovation

Published on June 14, 2021

An upcoming third expansion and renovation at Huntsville Animal Services will help streamline day-to-day operations while also saving lives of adoptable pets.

At its June 10 meeting, the Huntsville City Council unanimously approved a $1.2 million agreement between Mayor Tommy Battle and Chorba Construction Services. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall.

A view of a surgery suite at Huntsville Animal Services. There are overhead lights, an operating table covered with a sheet, and various machines and bins that would be used by surgical staff.
Benefits of the planned expansion at Huntsville Animal Services include a larger surgical suite, streamlined laundry operations and a bay area for intake.

City Administrator John Hamilton told the Council that previous renovations of the Triana Boulevard facility were broken into phases to allow HAS to continue running at full capacity. The third and final planned renovation, which will impact the rear of the facility, should not interfere with operations.

Highlights of the expansion include a larger surgery suite and secure garage bay space that will allow Animal Control officers to safely bring in stray animals to be evaluated and processed. It will also allow HAS to put its bathing stations, washers and dryers in the same area for the first time.

“We can renovate the space … so we can continue to do surgeries and other things to save the lives of those animals that are adoptable,” Hamilton told the Council.

HAS Director Dr. Karen Sheppard said having a functional surgery suite is critical to the future of HAS and the animals it receives.

“That will allow us to be really efficient with our spays and neuters, which allows us to save 5,000 lives per year,” she said.

The expansion will also include an isolation and quarantine area so sick or injured animals can be separated from the general population.

“Sometimes we have a dog come in with a broken leg or pelvis and it’s nice to put it in a quiet spot,” Sheppard said.

Combining laundry and cleaning processes in one area will ensure the shelter remains clean and sanitary. Those efforts have thus far been piecemeal, with the shelter’s commercial washer and dryer in one part of the building and the surgical washer and dryer in another.

“It’s really going to streamline things because all the laundry will be together, and all the (food and water) bowls will be in the same area,” she said.

As the building’s footprint expands, so will the shelter’s ventilation system. Sheppard said the system, which also helps suppress odors, will prevent the laundry and bath area from being too humid from the use of hot water.

Looking ahead, Sheppard’s eyeing improvements to the fenced play yard, though she plans to apply for grants and private funding for most of those.

“What we have is great, but it would be great to have some artificial turf in a few areas,” she said. “We’d also like to change out some of the pea gravel and put down mulch.”

Sheppard is excited about the planned expansion and said it should provide numerous short- and long-term benefits.

“This was a Cadillac of a building when it was built 30 years ago,” she said. “I think we can get 30 more years out of the new renovations. We’ll be set up for the future.”

For more on Huntsville Animal Services, call 256-883-3783 or visit HuntsvilleAL.gov/Animal.