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Humane Society, County Drop Plans to Share a Building

Sehvilla Mann

The Kalamazoo Humane Society says it will not be sharing a building with Kalamazoo County Animal Services and Enforcement. That's a reversal of two years of plans for the organizations to share a space, with the Humane Society as owner and the county as its long-term tenant.

An two-year-old agreement that would have allowed the county to rent-long term from the Humane Society expired this month.

On Wednesday the Humane Society said it had come to agree with the county that each group would be best served by building its own building.

"After much discussion, we agreed the best path forward is to pursue separate facilities based on our individual roles, needs and opportunities," KHS Executive Director wrote in a letter to Humane Society stakeholders.

Deputy County Administrator John Faul says the Humane Society and the county also do not plan to share one parcel of land, which had been discussed recently as an alternative to sharing a building.

But he says the county "absolutely" plans to build a new animal shelter in the near future, and is considering locating that shelter on county-owned land along the I-94 business loop. Faul says that land is close to a site in Comstock Township where the Humane Society says it plans to build its new facility.

Faul and Winters say the two organizations will continue to share services related to animal health and care.

Previously the Humane Society had said that sharing space with the county animal shelter was the best option for the animals each group cares for.  Kalamazoo County Animal Services and Enforcement Director Steve Lawrence also told WMUK in 2014 that a single building was the best option. Lawrence declined to comment for a more recent story. At that time top county administrators said they preferred to speak for the county on the issue.

Both the county and the Humane Society say they badly need new facilities.

The Humane Society says it is close to buying land the land in Comstock for a new building.

"Once we’ve closed on the property, we’ll begin designing the facility and a capital campaign to fund it. Our goal is to be in the new facility in 2017," Winters says.

Faul says the county also hopes to have its new shelter built by the end of 2017.

This story has been corrected to reflect the nature of the correspondence the Humane Society released on Wednesday. An earlier version of this story stated that it was a press release. It was, in fact, a letter to KHS stakeholders.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. She covered those topics and more in eight years of reporting for the Station, before becoming news director in 2022.
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