The Altus Animal Welfare Committee met Wednesday morning to review March minutes and receive an update from Police Chief Tim Murphy and Animal Control Supervisor Krissy Mahew about the status and updates on improvements made at the Animal Shelter, discuss a shelter recommendations memorandum and select the next meeting date.
Present were Assistant City Manager Matt Wojnowski, Murphy, Mahew, council members Dwayne Martin, Perry Shelton and Chris Riffle, appointed member Brenda Mahan, and volunteer Alison Templer.
Murphy and Mahew agreed and reported that no real improvements have been made and that the first priority should be responding to citizens’ calls and obtain proper funding for projects. Examples in the lack of staffing are major obstacles, even after selecting a part-time volunteer coordinator and a temporary full-time animal control officer.
Currently the shelter has one employee on workers’ compensation for an unknown time period. The shelter receives calls directly to the office and also transferred from the Altus Police Department and many by text messages. The hours of operation at shelter will change, new hours of operation will be closed in the morning and open in the afternoon. Cleaning and maintenance will be done during closed times .
Shelton suggested researching the cost of hiring a contractor to clean and researching grants. Riffle emphasized prioritizing was a definite must, first serving the community, the animals and the branding of Altus.
“We have a responsibility to the animals and funding is needed to enhance the shelter, and I feel we are still just talking and not acting,” said a very vocal appointed committee member Mahan.”When is the time to move forward and approach the mayor and council in making the shelter a priority?”
“Why does the shelter request for donations of food?,” Mahan said. “My perception is we are begging.”
The committee also talked about enforcing and working on city ordinance changes if needed or forming new ones, a no chain up of animals and tether law was an example. The need of seeking and educating volunteers, and public education.
“A report with specific needs with numbers attached to it, I feel would be a plus to take to council,” Martin said.
Wojnowski, along with council, felt the new city manager would be able to help lead the city in the right direction.
The meeting was adjourned.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 480-482-1221, ext. 2077.