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PAWS for MAPS 4 News

Opinions

Point of View: Make animal shelter a part of MAPS 4

BY Christian Keesee
Published: Sun, August 11, 2019 1:05 AM

Oklahoman.com

Image of Christian Keesee, a supporter of a new animal shelter as part of MAPS 4

Christian Keesee – supporter of a new animal shelter as part of MAPS 4.

Miraculously, in just 25 years MAPS has improved Oklahoma City in ways we can’t possibly measure, elevating the city’s reputation and improving quality of life. This reinvention (galvanized by the collective trauma of the 1995 bombing) now connects all Oklahoma City people, and has made “1OKC” a credible digital mantra. The ballpark, arena, library, streetcar and so much more — alongside a resilient economy — were validated by the arrival of the NBA. Not just an airport code for pilots, “OKC” now signifies a certain cool.

But in our ambition to become a great city through transformative infrastructure, we left important neighbors behind — the four-legged and winged ones.

As our city council and community reviews 16 proposed MAPS 4 projects, consider that no previous MAPS project has addressed animals. We have lots to be proud of as a city, but the way we treat homeless animals leaves much to be desired. The proposed new animal shelter — 5% of the overall projected MAPS budget — would go far in solving this problem and solidifying the city's reputation.

Our existing shelter on SE 29 Street is a relic from a different era, architecturally devoid of humane standards. What we have is a total outlier to the city’s renaissance, a sad place where far too many healthy animals are euthanized. This June alone, 476 dogs and cats were euthanized for space. That is not the standard of a great city.

This prison-like shelter wasn’t designed to be a life-saving place. It was conceived and built to hold animals for three days, then euthanize them if they weren’t adopted or reclaimed. And it was built for a smaller city: our population is approximately 30 percent larger than when the shelter was built.

In MAPS 4, we have a generational chance to improve life for people and animals in Oklahoma City. A transformational animal resource center will reduce disease and euthanasia; create a safer and better environment for animals, employees, and animal-cruelty investigators; and become a destination that Oklahoma residents will want to visit, increasing adoption.

Some say renovation is a solution. That is not true. Everything is obsolete and inadequate with the existing facility. There are no windows, the layout is wrong and it's too small. The drainage and ventilation are problematic on a daily basis. The building, not the compassionate and dedicated staff, is the problem. Shortchanging the shelter with yet another patch job won’t improve matters.

The Oklahoma City Animal Shelter doesn’t meet the needs of our city and it doesn’t speak to who we are as people. It’s time to build a new modern shelter. Let’s do it in MAPS 4.

Endorsements

Barry and Becky Switzer Endorse PAWS for MAPS 4

Barry and Becky Switzer endorse PAWS for MAPS 4

Barry and Becky Switzer pictured with their dogs.

Thank you Barry and Becky Switzer for your endorsement!

Barry Switzer is the co-founder of Ground Zero, a canine training facility.

Barry served for 16 years as head football coach at the University of Oklahoma and 4 years as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He won three national championships at Oklahoma, and led the Cowboys to win Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jim Roth Endorses PAWS for MAPS 4

Jim Roth endorses PAWS for MAPS 4

Jim Roth and Phillip Koszarek pictured with their dogs.

Thank you Jim Roth for your endorsement!

Jim Roth, former Oklahoma County commissioner, State of Oklahoma Corporation commissioner, and dean of the Oklahoma City University Law School has endorsed PAWS for MAPS 4.

Want to Endorse PAWS for MAPS 4?

Video

PAWS for MAPS 4 Presents Proposal for New Animal Shelter to Mayor and Council

Press Release

For Immediate Release, June 21, 2019

Contact: Chris Stinchcomb, Volunteer Media Coordinator
Text: (405) 821-4974
Email: chris.stinchcomb@gmail.com

PAWS for MAPS 4 Forms to Address Plight of OKC’s Animals, Advocate for New Shelter in MAPS 4

OKLAHOMA CITY — Citing “crisis conditions” at Oklahoma City’s municipal animal shelter, a grassroots citizens group is calling for the construction of a new, modern animal facility in the city’s next round of MAPS projects. PAWS (Project Animal Welfare Shelter) for MAPS 4 officially launched its public education campaign and website, pawsformaps4.com, today.

Recent news reports have outlined the shelter’s problems: a facility that is unable to meet the demand of a city that has outgrown it. Animal Welfare Superintendent Jonathan Gary told KFOR in June that as many as 90 animals are coming in daily to the shelter, overwhelming staff, creating dangerous overcrowding conditions for the animals, and leading to some “tough choices,” as hundreds of animals had to be euthanized in the first weeks of June alone.

“Our municipality can do better for the animals in Oklahoma City,” said Louisa McCune, PAWS for MAPS 4 Education Director. “The shelter staff and citizen volunteers are doing the best they can with what they are given to work with. But the facility we have today is inadequate for our city’s needs.”

PAWS for MAPS 4 is proposing construction of a modern, “state-of-the art” 55,000 square-foot building with enhanced veterinary facilities, larger cages, increased office space for field staff, better overall design, and a more welcoming, humane environment.

“Building this new facility will be transformational for our city, its residents, and our animals”

“Building this new facility will be transformational for our city, its residents, and our animals,” McCune said. “It will impact the non-profit partners who work tirelessly with city employees to save lives. Moreover, it will be a MAPS 4 project that truly benefits everyone—every neighborhood and neighbor in Oklahoma City.”

McCune noted that how a city treats its animals is an essential measure of a city’s quality of life, leading to positive perception from the business community. “We have a moment here to address a crisis,” she said. “And doing so through MAPS, we will not just address the crisis, we will build a shelter that puts our city ahead of its peers. This kind of humane community-building is very attractive to site selectors and talented individuals who are considering relocation to Oklahoma City.”

The Oklahoma City Animal Shelter is located at 2811 Southeast 29th Street and has sixty employees. More than one hundred non-profits groups are registered with the city to pull animals for rescue and foster. So far, in the month of June 2019, the city has taken in 1,660 animals and was forced to euthanize 226.

PAWS for MAPS 4 is inviting supporters to attend the Oklahoma City Council Meeting on July 11 for the proposed animal shelter presentation. McCune said the citizen’s advocacy group is also planning several events designed to educate the community, increase awareness of the issue, and communicate the benefits of a new Oklahoma City animal shelter.

Vote Tuesday December 10 for MAPS 4!

Encourage friends, family, and other potential supporters to vote YES December 10.

For more information about the broader MAPS 4 proposal, you can visit the official MAPS 4 campaign page by clicking here

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