Moore Shelter rendering

A rendering of Moore’s new animal shelter is shown. The $8.2 million shelter will be located on the South I-35 Service Road, east of the interstate and south of SW 34th Street.

Moore is set to receive a new comprehensive $8.2 million animal shelter following the passage of a bond earlier this month.

The future home for Moore Animal Welfare is S I-35 Service Road, east of the interstate and south of SW 34th Street.

The 15,040-square-foot shelter will include separate areas for adoption and intake, multi-purpose training room, quarantine rooms, administrative offices, better air ventilation systems, a medical suite, animal food preparation area and more room for cats and dogs.

Groundbreaking and completion dates are yet to be determined, but the facility could be ready to go by the end of 2023, Mitchell said.

Shelter Manager John Fryrear said Moore Animal Welfare has operated out of its current 3,200-square-foot shelter for over 20 years.

The city’s population going from 41,138 in 2000 to 62,793 in 2020 has the shelter at 3900 S I-35 Service Rd spatially maxed out, he said.

Moore City Manager Brooks Mitchell said the city weighed the decision between expanding the current shelter and building a new one in recent years, but their lot north of Indian HIlls Road doesn’t have the space required for all of the necessary improvements.

“There is wear and tear on the cages and on the concrete, as it’s a 22-year-old facility,” Mitchell said.

The current shelter holds 29 dogs and nine cats. As of Wednesday, they are housing 30 dogs and 17 cats.

“Right now, we’re doubling open cages,” Fryrear said. “We’re even housing cats in the dog sections.”

Fryrear said more spaces means the ability to save more animals and to house significantly more dogs and cats.

The adoption section capacity will be 28 cats and 47 dogs. The animal hold section capacity will be 20 cats and 29 dogs.

Fryrear said overcrowding at the current shelter means an ever-present concern for the outbreak of sickness.

Separate areas for adoption and intake will create an environment more conducive to disease control. Dedicated ventilation systems for both areas should also prevent the spread of illness, Fryrear said.

A medical suite at the future shelter will be a space for animals to recover from surgery and other veterinary care.

“If an animal comes in sick or injured, we will be able to house them separately from intake and adoption,” Fryrear said. “You worry about kennel cough, upper respiratory disease, because once that hits, it just keeps going and your whole shelter is affected.”

Fryrear said the new shelter will be more centrally located in Moore, allowing for convenient access from the city’s residents, just off I-35.

“A lot of people have a hard time finding us and we got a ton of calls from people who say they passed us,” Fryrear said. “We will be facing the west, so people driving down I-35 will be able to see our beautiful building that citizens helped pay for.”

Fryrear looks forward to the completion of the facility, and the opportunity to invite the public to see how their tax dollars benefited animals in need of shelter and care.

Mitchell said as the city issues the bonds, they get repaid through the property tax. The city has a certain amount of dollars in bonds outstanding with principal and interest payments due every year.

After the county assessor looks at property valuations, Mitchell said they take the estimate of needs for the various cities and create the millage rate, a collective property tax rating. The City of Moore’s property tax rating is currently 15.4, he said.

“We will issue these bonds in increments where their millage rate won’t exceed 16.5., so people may see a slight fluctuation in property tax, but it will be minimal because we’ll have the millage rate fluctuate within a narrow range,” Mitchell said. “Over the next few years, part of the property tax that they pay to the City of Moore will go to repay these bonds.”

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at jelkins@normantranscript.com or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.

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