The Franklin County Humane Society has recently taken to social media to alert citizens about why it needs a new building.
In late June, the Humane Society began sharing videos and photos on its Facebook page showing flooding around the building.
A Sunday post showing flooding in the Humane Society's parking lot and near dog kennels has almost 200 shares. A Monday post with a video showing a dog in a cage with pooling water has almost 220 shares and over 8,700 views.
Shelter Manager Kerry Lowary said one commenter asked her why she recorded the flooding instead of evacuating animals from the shelter. She said that when the rain comes into the shelter, it's like a flash flood and is gone in a few hours. It would take longer to get the animals out, she said. If the water was going to be deeper, that would be a different issue.
"Sadly, we know the cycle," she said.
However, flooding is only one of the signs of how outdated the shelter is, according to Sam Marcus, Franklin County Humane Society president. All animals, whether being admitted to the shelter or leaving as an adopted through the front door, are checked for signs of illness in a small foyer where people such as animal control officers and potential adopters are coming through the door.
"It's still a challenge to have all that screening done in the same place where all the people are," Marcus said.
The current shelter does not have much space to isolate animals from one another, in cases of illness or keeping a mother cat with her newborns. The building is 50 years old.
Marcus said the Humane Society began to visualize a new facility after receiving $300,000 from the estate of Jean Gravitt in 2013 and has since received similar donations. He said that the shelter initially asked the city and county last year for $1.6 million each to fund a new shelter but has revised its request to $1.1 million and land on Carpenter Farm from the city and $1.35 million from the county.
Lowary said some animals at the shelter receive a better quality of life than what they faced before coming to the shelter. One dog came in on Friday missing fur on half of his body due to flea bites. If the Humane Society didn't exist, animals like that wouldn't receive care, she said
Marcus said Humane Society representatives are speaking with Frankfort city commissioners and Franklin County Fiscal Court magistrates to discuss what help both local governments can give the shelter.
Judge-Executive Huston Wells previously told The State Journal that the court would consider the request when a formal written request was made, but he recently clarified that to mean an agreement between the Humane Society, the city and the county outlining what each group would need to provide in order for a new shelter to be built. The Humane Society gave a presentation and letter to Fiscal Court in April to ask for funds.
Wells said that Marcus, city representatives and county officials will meet soon to take the first step toward such an agreement. He said that he supports building a new shelter, but variables, such as cost and getting out of a lease on a previous site chosen for the animal shelter, need to be addressed before funds are committed. Elected officials have to be stewards of the public's money, he said.
"I think the majority of fiscal court and commissioners are in favor of this," Wells said.
Frankfort Mayor Bill May said that he also supports building a new animal shelter since the city works with the Humane Society on animal control. He said that City Manager Keith Parker was tasked with figuring out the level of support that the city could give and researching what other communities' animal shelters provide.
"Our staff is definitely looking at ways the city can contribute," May said.