Couple offers money toward shelter rehab
Educator Donn Callaham and his wife, retired educator Nancy Woodworth, made the announcement during a county commission work session Friday.
Commissioner Allen Springer, a builder by trade, said he would visit the facility with the couple in the coming weeks to review needs and opportunities. At a minimum, Springer said, it needs a new roof, new siding and and an upgraded electrical system.
The commissioners were called to session to consider options for the dilapidated structure the county relies on to house stray and problem dogs.
The facility is operated by the county’s sheriff’s office, which feels urgent action is needed. Sheriff Jack Crabtree raised the issue at a budget meeting in March, saying something needs to be done soon.
The session opened with a presentation by Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Svenson on a range of options, including housing strays at private kennels or contracting with the city of Newberg for use of its new facility.
Svenson said the county’s animal control operation is self-sufficient. By supplementing dog licensing revenue with private donations, it is able to cover its operational needs, he said.
However, he said it has no reserve fund for capital investment.
Svenson said housing dogs in private kennels would cost the county $22 per dog per day, or about $80,000 a year. But he said that would allow dog control officers to spend more time in the field enforcing local dog control ordinances, and that would result in some new revenue as a by-product.
He said county jail inmates are pressed into service to some extent, but said labor from that source has been declining over the years. As a result, he said, animal control officers now have to spend more of their time maintaining the premises.
He said Newberg had laid off its animal control officer and turned animal control operations over to the county. He said that promised the county about $30,000 a year in new licensing revenue.
However, he said Newberg recently completed a new animal control facility of its own at a cost of $250,000, and was not interested in sharing it with the county. He said he broached the idea with officials in Newberg and they weren’t interested.
At that point, Callaham and Woodworth stepped forward with their offer, which elicited a strongly positive reaction from commissioners.
In addition to giving the facility a much needed overhaul, Woodworth said she would like to see the county develop a place where people could interact with dogs they are considering for adoption.