Kalamazoo County Says Yes to Long-Awaited Animal Shelter

Jul 18, 2018

Animal Services and Enforcement Director Steve Lawrence with a kitten at the Kalamazoo County animal shelter in 2014.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Years after the idea first came before the Board, Kalamazoo County commissioners have voted to build a $5 million new animal shelter. Supporters of the overhaul, including Kalamazoo County Animal Services and Enforcement Director Steve Lawrence have long criticized the existing building.

Lawrence says that among other failings, the current facility has poor ventilation that helps to spread diseases like kennel cough among dogs. And there’s no way to isolate aggressive pets in quarantine from gentler animals. Lawrence says that’s limited Animal Services’ ability to take on volunteers.

But at the new shelter, he says, things will be different.

“This new facility will help us separate those things out - allow us to provide a lot more opportunity for volunteers to walk animals, to groom animals. It’s exciting, it’s really exciting,” he says.

“We’re really excited for volunteers to be able to come out and be able to participate in a facility that will be able to accommodate that and really be able to interact with the animals,” said Kalamazoo County Parks Director Dave Rachowicz after the Commission’s vote Tuesday evening.

Rachowicz says construction of the shelter will begin within the next two weeks.