New home planned for animal services

An artist's rendering depicts the county animal services facility that is expected to be completed in 2012.
An artist's rendering depicts the county animal services facility that is expected to be completed in 2012. (Courtesy Of Montgomery County Animal Shelter)
By Mimi Liu
The Gazette
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Montgomery County will break ground on a 47,000-square-foot animal services and adoption facility in Derwood in the spring.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2012, said David Dise, director of the county's Department of General Services.

"This will be a wonderful facility for both animal services and animal adoption, and a facility that the county in general will find nice," Dise said.

The 1 1/2 -story building will be at the northwest corner of Muncaster Mill and Airpark roads. The county Planning Board approved the proposal for the animal shelter July 22.

Dise said the project's next step is to obtain sediment control approval for the site and finalize the shelter design shelter by the end of this month. The county also will begin to solicit contractors for the project. Construction is expected to cost $17.3 million.

Residents initially had concerns about the shelter and the construction of Laytonia Recreational Park, which will be built on the same site as the shelter and is expected to open in 2013.

Before the park was proposed, residents were upset that the shelter would be built on land that officials had promised would contain a park. They also feared the facility would generate noise. After officials presented plans that combined the shelter and the park, residents responded more positively but continued to voice concerns about noise and traffic.

Access to the new facility will be "an easy-in and easy-out" off Muncaster Mill Road, Dise said, adding that noise will not be a concern for nearby residents.

"The animals will reside inside the facility," Dise said. "There will be no discernible noise that I'm aware of outside the facility."

The shelter will be owned and operated primarily by the Montgomery County Police Department's Animal Services Division, although the Montgomery County Humane Society will continue to be in charge of pet adoptions and other functions.

The division's budget is roughly $3.6 million for the current fiscal year, which pays for operation of the animal shelter, contracts with other groups that administer or are related to animal care and animal services, community grants and personnel costs, said Capt. Michael Wahl, the division's director. Fees from pet adoptions also will fund the operations and services of the new shelter, Wahl said.

"It's going to be a wonderful new home for the animals and a great place for both patrons and adopters of pets to come to," said Cris Bombaugh, president and chief executive of the humane society.

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