There’s something about coming home each day to the unconditional love of a pet.
In our own home, we have Luigi, a Bichon Frise, and Gepetto, a Maltese-Terrier mix, and they are a joy.
Dogs, cats … whatever types of pets you have in your home, maybe you’ll agree with me when I say, they are family.
Treating them as such is something I feel strongly about.
We, the people, exist largely to be the caretakers of other creatures and their habitats, in this circle of life. That’s what I believe.
Doing otherwise, or even mistreating or neglecting them, is a severe abdication of basic human responsibility.
A large and growing, progressive-minded urban community like Clarksville-Montgomery County has to be a leader and set an example in this arena.
There are new developments with the planned animal shelter in Montgomery County that, based on what we’ve been told up to now, can hopefully help us take a giant leap forward, and continue to reduce euthanasia rates while providing comfortable temporary living spaces for pets that are up for adoption.
After the passage of a new budget for Montgomery County earlier this summer, David Kaske, director of Montgomery County Animal Care & Control, said funds are budgeted for the shelter’s design phase in fiscal year 2022-23.
Even better, a lengthy site search has led us to what seems to many people to be a logical location for the new animal shelter, on property the county already owns.
There’s a valid argument to be made that, it all makes sense in many ways, amid an ongoing county budget crunch.
“The new budget has $750,000 allocated for the design phase of the new animal shelter,” Kaske has said. “We will be working towards getting the design of the new facility finalized this year.”
And there’s this: The county has settled on a plan to share property between the new animal shelter and the planned location for the north Clarksville branch of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library, at the corner of 101st Airborne Division Parkway and Jordan Road.
Forward progress:Site selected for newer, bigger Clarksville animal shelter
Rescue cats:Clarksville kitties get new homes in celebration of adopt a cat month
The benefit of this plan whereby the animal shelter and library share property, Kaske said, is that it’s potentially a bonus for both departments to conveniently share customer bases. And maybe even do some shared programming.
Maybe it symbolizes that literacy and genuinely caring for pets are values that go hand-in-hand in a civilized, progressive community.
For now, Kaske said the lead architect for the new shelter is to be Shelter Planners of America, based in Texas, that has expertise in doing animal shelter designs and blueprints.
They’ll be partnering in the project with Clarksville architect Jon Clark. Kaske said the national firm has done a similar shelter project in Williamson County.
A big emphasis will be placed on community involvement in designing Montgomery County’s animal shelter, to make it both pet- and- people-friendly. The department will be seeking your input.
The important consideration is this: the new shelter is hoped to help the community better-handle cases of pet overcrowding, which is a common problem at the existing Clarksville shelter on Spring Street in downtown.
Animal shelter:Pet euthanasia rates at the Montgomery County shelter are rising. Here’s why
Just like every other function of local government, Animal Care & Control is having to factor in the realities of dramatic population growth, including the cost of it.
The challenge is efficiently balancing the financial realities with the responsibility we hold for animals that cannot help themselves.
The county department has also taken on the responsibility of managing a separate animal shelter on Fort Campbell, combining forces and hopefully streamlining the humane, community-wide management of animal strays and pet surrenders — and more importantly, successful pet adoptions.
It’s taken some time to get to this point, but the thing that may be most encouraging is a heightened emphasis on the “animal care,” portion of the departmental name for this branch of county government.
Kaske and his staff want to live up to that name.
Reach Jimmy Settle at [email protected] or 931-245-0247. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to TheLeafChronicle.com.