By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

The Killeen Animal Shelter expansion and renovations are nearly finished, Roy Johnson reported Wednesday.

Johnson, an officer with Killeen Animal Control, told Animal Advisory Committee members construction should be complete in two to three weeks.

"The inside is going very well," Johnson said, noting the dry wall is up.

He said construction crews were pouring the slab for the new building on Wednesday.

The plans for the renovation of the current building, at 3118 Commerce Drive, is to relocate the entrance, create a larger lobby, build a new work area and have a new quarantine area. The current building is about 80 feet long and 40 feet wide.

The plans also call for a new dog kennel, about 58 feet long and 31 feet wide. It will include a large open area for dog cages and rooms for laundry and storage.

"It's quite an improvement," Johnson said.

The project, originally approved by Killeen voters as a $180,000 bond in 2002, escalated in price as the Animal Advisory Committee began working on plans in March 2007.

Other costs include new kennel cages, architectural and engineering services and an incinerator. The total project cost is about $299,000.

Committee members asked about an air conditioner. Councilman Larry Cole, committee chair, said he was not aware that they approved the project without an air conditioning system in the new building. Instead, the new kennel will have a fan and ventilation system.

"This is just like the Temple shelter," Johnson said.

Several committee members said they worried the dogs will get too hot.

"Depending on the design, it may be adequate," said Dr. Laura Szeremi, a committee member who is a veterinarian.

Szeremi, who owns Banfield Pet Hospital in Killeen, said 92 degrees Fahrenheit is the limit for dogs.

"As long as they have access to shade and water, 92 is fine," Szeremi said.

Councilman Juan Rivera, committee member, asked Johnson to find out what the temperature in the Temple shelter is during the summer and find out if an air conditioner needs to be added.

Szeremi, who is building a climate-controlled barn for herself, said an air conditioner is not always needed.

"There are a lot of things you can do to make it cooler without an air conditioner," Szeremi said.

In other business, the committee discussed whether to do away with the $10 fee for residents who surrender their pets to the Animal Shelter. Ultimately, the committee decided it wasn't worth pursuing.

"It's not actually broken," committee member Liz Rainey said, adding that they don't need to try to fix it.

Rainey also gave a report on the low-cost shot clinic that was in April. She said 134 animals received a rabies shot and 42 animals had a microchip put in them. That's down from the previous year, which had about 240 animals participate. Rainey also said they may do another low-cost shot clinic in October.

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