When Perrysburg's animal control officer Jeff Studer picks up stray or roaming cats and dogs, the city lacks a one-stop place to house the animals.
Cats are boarded at South Suburban Animal Hospital, and dogs are kept in cages in the police department's sally port, where patrol cars carry prisoners in and out of the police station.
By the time harsh, bitterly cold weather returns, a new animal control facility should be up and running.
The city has decided to proceed with a $125,000 project to renovate a city-owned building into the new animal control office, said Jon Eckel, Perrysburg's public service director.
The city has been trying to get updated facilities for years, and the time and conditions now are right for the plan to proceed, Mr. Eckel said.
A renter in the city-owned building doesn't need the whole facility, he said, and the building is near the police station where Mr. Studer has his office.
Mr. Eckel said renovation work is unlikely to start before the end of May.
The project could be finished by August.
The animal control office has been operating under "substandard conditions for a long time," Mr. Eckel said, adding that current facilities are not easy to clean or take care of.
The new facility will provide the city with "good reliable kennels," Mr. Eckel said, and it will have a sloped floor that will be easier to clean.
Perrysburg's dog kennel had been outside, and that meant dogs couldn't be kenneled during the winter, he said. The sally port being used now is a protected area.
Animals picked up are held for several days in order to give owners time to claim them or for the animals to be adopted, Mr. Eckel said.
Mr. Studer, Perrysburg's animal control officer since 1990, said his office will remain in the police station when the new facility opens.
He said he handles about 1,500 animal-related calls annually, such as complaints about barking dogs or dogs and cats running loose.
"A lot of times, dogs and cats picked up belong to people who went to work and the dog or cat got out," Mr. Studer said. When that happens, typically the animals are claimed the same day.
People contact him about coyote sightings, particularly along the Maumee River near Fort Meigs. He gets calls, too, when people get bitten by dogs, and he said he gets a dog-bite call about once a month, such as when a pizza delivery man gets bitten or when child visiting a home is nipped by a family pet.
Last week, no dogs were being held, but two cats were being housed by the city.
Anyone interested in adopting a cat or cats can contact Mr. Studer at the police station or contact South Suburban Animal Hospital.
Dogs that are not claimed and cannot be adopted locally are sent to the Wood County dog warden. "Wood County tries to adopt them out," Mr. Studer said.
Cats boarded by the city usually are adopted from the South Suburban Animal Hospital, Mr. Studer said.
If animals with tags run away, they can be returned to owners more readily than can animals without identification information, said Mr. Studer.
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