City takes over animal shelter operations

As of midnight July 1, the City of Sedalia is now in charge of operations at the Sedalia Animal Shelter, and new manager Andrea Martin has plans for implementing new programs and policies.

While Martin officially took over her duties Wednesday, she has been working for several weeks to learn best shelter practices, attend classes, visit area shelters, create a new website and writing new policies.

The shelter will fall under the Sedalia Police Department, and Cmdr. David Woolery and Martin spoke with local media Wednesday afternoon about the department’s plans for the shelter. Woolery said most shelters are run by the city, and many are operated out of the police department.

“Our shelter has been historically full for a long time now,” Woolery said. “Our goal will be to adopt all the animals that we can that are adoptable and make room because we have a large influx of stray cats, feral cats, stray dogs in our community that’s not good for the animals or our citizens, and we’re wanting to really start working on that issue.

“We have six open kennels as of (Wednesday) morning, which I can’t remember when we’ve had six open kennels that our animal control could even go out and catch animals. … That’s nice to have. That’s six animals we can try and pick up and find a home for that we couldn’t before.”

The previous board that ran the facility left behind equipment to allow SPD to begin running the shelter, and Martin has spent time with the previous staff to learn procedures the department wants to continue to use. Woolery said Martin has also spent time cleaning the entire shelter, and the next step is to clean up the outside of the facility.

City Administrator Gary Edwards told the Democrat after the press conference that incorporating the shelter into the city’s budget shouldn’t be much of a burden, as the city already contributes a “significant amount” of funding to the shelter, including employing the two animal control officers. He said the city will be now be responsible for “slightly more, but not much more” funding for the shelter. None of the previous board’s funds will be transferred to the city.

Martin said the shelter’s new website launched Monday, and it seems to be working already — roughly eight animals have been adopted as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Just this week we have a website established, so all the animals that were already there are up on our website and being put on our Facebook page, and any new animals that come in as soon as they’re input into the computer then they automatically upload to our website,” Martin said.

Each animal that is adopted from the Sedalia Animal Shelter will receive vaccinations, be spayed/neutered a microchip prior to leaving the shelter. The adoption fees have been increased to $85 for dogs and $65 for cats, which Woolery said will help with the cost of the microchips.

“Each new adopter will receive one month of free insurance on this pet, so that will also help if we’ve missed something along the way or they need to be treated, that will help to not be such a financial burden to the adopter right off the bat,” Martin added.

Woolery said original plans had designated the current shelter as a quarantine shelter separate from the upcoming new shelter on New York Avenue, but some rearranging has allowed the quarantine space to be incorporated in the new facility. At present, there are no plans for using the current shelter once the new facility is completed. Dirt work has started on the new site, but a completion date has not been set.

The new shelter will be significantly larger than the current space, which will help with the department’s goal of getting stray animals off the streets.

In the current holding area, there are six kennels for cats, and by state mandate the shelter must keep each cat — and dog — in the holding area for five days before moving them to a different area. If six cats come in on one day, the holding area is then at capacity for the next five days.

“We’ve had to shuffle things around because they’ve added a quarantine area and a holding area (at the new shelter)… Before we started breaking these down and changing things up, I believe we had 60 to 65 (spaces) for dogs and about the same for cats, so that is, cat-wise, more than double, and dog-wise a little more than double too,” Martin said. “So there will be a lot more room.”

To see animals available for adoption at the Sedalia Animal Shelter, visit

Sedalia Democrat
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