The city's proposed animal care facility is expected to be up and functioning in fall 2015, if not sooner, animal care advisory board members were told Thursday during their meeting.
The project, which will be on property the city purchased at 4218 Chandler Highway, will include animal control, shelter and adoption services. A total of 84 dogs and 65 cats, plus a cat colony, can be housed at the facility in Phase 1. The cat colony, which is non-caged housing inside, could accommodate about 24 cats.
Phase 2, yet to have a timeline, would add an entire section with more cages, City Engineer Carter Delleney said. Tyler Junior College's veterinary technician program will be part of Phase 3. However, Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle said via email that the veterinary technician program could become involved in the first phase as far as being involved in animal care and wellness.
The estimated cost for Phase 1 is $2.9 million. It is being funded by half-cent sales tax revenue and donations.
Delleney said Freese and Nichols Inc. has been working on the project's design, along with the company Design Learned Inc., which focuses on the animal care part of the project.
He said the current facility design includes a secure entryway, where an animal control vehicle could pull in and then bring animals into the building, as well as proper quarantine areas.
He said the animal control area is separate from the public meet-and-greet and adoption areas, and there are main offices for the shelter and main offices for animal control.
On Thursday, Swindle discussed animal control.
He said the city previously notified the Northeast Texas Public Health District, which has provided animal control, to end its contract with the city of Tyler.
Swindle said after the city did a study on the ins and outs of cost and what the city expected it could do it for in-house, the decision was made that the city would propose to resume animal control.
The city's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, calls for an animal control supervisor position, along with five animal control officers.
He said the city will hire as many Northeast Texas Public Health District officers as possible.
Swindle said Thursday that the animal care advisory board also is in the infancy stages of ordinance discussion.
He said the board has discussed the point of rabies vaccination.
According to notes from a previous board meeting, the discussion was about the differences in the yearly vaccine and the three-year vaccine.
In the end, the board decided to keep the existing vaccination requirement, Swindle said. Currently, animals inside city limits must receive vaccination once each year, according to notes from a previous board meeting.
Swindle said there also has been some good discussion about spay and neuter requirements.
The animal care advisory board may make recommendations to the City Council in the future.