February 18, 2006

Abused, abandoned animals get new home in Moline

Rock Island county's new animal shelter is having an open house today. Having their open house on a day when it's probably warmer in Barrow, Alaska is in keeping with the rocky start the project has had.

As noted in the Dispatch article, the barely completed shelter had to step in and help out Henry County by taking in 23 adult Great Pyrenees and 3 puppies, part of 42 of the dogs found in a Henry county home, with furniture and the new veternary tech arriving on the job a day later.

The shelter was initially thought to require $5 million dollars, but was slashed back to $1.6 million, making one wonder just how out of whack the initial proposal was if it could get done for far less than half the amount. The original planned facility must have been very nice.

But it's great news and heartening to see that a decent facility is up and running, after decades of sub-standard and often grim quarters.

Thumbs up to the county and all those who helped turn this into a reality.

Visitors will see a clean home for the homeless and abused pets at today's open house for the Rock Island County animal shelter.

"People will be surprised at how nice it is," animal control director Rich Glessner said Friday. "It is not what the community is used to or accustomed to. It is very clean and progressive."

Not to mention pretty full. Henry County seized 42 adult Great Pyrenees dogs from a home in Geneseo earlier this week, with 23 of the adult dogs and four puppies brought to the Rock Island County shelter. Volunteer groomers spent Tuesday bathing and shaving the dogs.

The shelter had 300 animals pass through in the three weeks since it opened the week of Jan. 20, Mr. Glessner said. The community response, especially following the abuse case, has been tremendous.

"It is good exposure for us and instills in the community why we are here and why we were created," he said.

Rock Island County board chairman Jim Bohnsack has been a champion of the shelter since he became chairman in 2002. He is glad Rock Island County was able to help when it was needed by Henry County.

"It is such perfect timing when you can help another county," he said. "They really hit the ground running."

The shelter will offer low-cost spay and neutering and a low-cost veterinary clinic.

The shelter has been a work in progress since its short-staffed opening last month. The last week has been a challenge. The Great Pyrenees arrived Tuesday, followed by the shelter's new furniture on Wednesday -- the first day on the job for the veterinary technician.

"It gets better day by day," Mr. Glessner said. "The vet tech got a good dose of what animal control is all about."

The finishing touches on the 12,000 square foot shelter were still being made in the last few days before the shelter opened. A ground-breaking was held in March.

The shelter's opening at times seemed like it would never happen. When first discussed, the project was estimated at $5 million. It was scaled back to its $1.6 million price tag in 2003. Rock Island County, and the cities of Rock Island, East Moline and Moline contributed to the project. Moline contributed $500,000 from the Helen and Thomas Larson Trust designated for sheltering animals in Rock Island County.

A non-profit organization, Q-C Paws, has been created to fund-raise for day-to-day costs and other expenses.

Mr. Bohnsack sees the shelter already having an impact, providing refuge for the Great Pyrenees.

"It is all we hoped it to be and more," he said. "We have more people to thank than the county board, we have city councils and volunteers."

INFOBOX:

Rock Island County Animal Shelter

Where: 4001 78th Ave., Moline.

Phone number: (309) 558-3483.

Open House 1-4 p.m. today. Shuttle service is running from Horace Mann Elementary School, 3601 69th Ave., Moline.

Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

On the web: www.rockislandcounty.org or www.qcpaws.org
The shelter will no doubt be operated as always on a bare bones (no pun intended) budget. It would be nice if readers keep the shelter in mind as a worthy cause for their contributions.

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