The existing building used by West Hartford Animal Control at 36 Brixton Street will be replaced with a completely new structure.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Animal Control, which is a division of the West Hartford Police Department, will soon have a new facility for temporarily housing stray dogs as well as cats and other domestic animals.
The existing building, at 36 Brixton Street, across from the Public Works Department facilities, is a roughly 600 square foot concrete block structure constructed in 1971, and intended to be a dog kennel only, although other animals are sometimes brought there.
Funds to replace the structure have been allocated as part of the town’s Capital Improvement Program, with $50,000 previously expended to assess the town’s needs for the Animal Control Division, Police Chief Vernon Riddick said – and $700,000 in the current fiscal year to construct a new building which the study determined was needed.
Acting Town Manager Rick Ledwith said Friday that a request for proposal for the design of the facility is being issued within the next few weeks, and the town will solicit bids for construction once the design has been finalized. The new building will be on the same property, which is just under a half-acre, but in a different spot, he said.
A recent post on Facebook noted that the existing Animal Control facility is in poor condition, which prompted questions among members of the community about the status of the planned upgrade.
“In combination with [Director of Plant and Facilities] Bob Palmer, we identified a need and secured funding,” Riddick told We-Ha.com. “The deficiency was identified, the money was allocated, and the plan will be addressed going forward.”
Riddick confirmed that construction of the new facility is a priority and the plans are moving forward. “The animals are very well cared for,” he said. “The building is outdated, and we are addressing that.”
In considering the future needs of the town’s Animal Control Division, Riddick said he did some outreach to other communities to explore the possibility of collaborating to construct a regional facility. “There are no takers at this point,” Riddick said.
West Hartford Animal Control is currently under the supervision of Animal Control Officer Helen Lee, and Douglas Glowacki and Kimberly Gulino serve as officers within the division as well. Most lost pets are eventually returned to their owners, but those that are available for adoption are posted on the West Hartford Animal Control Facebook page.
West Hartford Animal Control also assists other organizations, such as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, with rescues and other wildlife-related situations. Last September, officers assisted DEEP by monitoring a bear that was stuck in a tree and appeared to be ill, but the bear eventually climbed down and departed on its own.
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