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South Baldwin officials say new animal shelter needed to address growing population

WPMI

Officials from 3 South Baldwin County cities are working together in hopes of building a new shelter to address a growing animal population.

The lack of space to house stray animals is catching up to Baldwin County.

Dogs and cats found out on the streets often end up at the county's shelter in Summerdale, but as the area continues to grow, so does the problem.

Steve Griffin, City Administrator in Gulf Shores, said the municipality is working with representatives in Foley and Orange Beach to find a solution.

"Because county-wide there's been such a capacity issue, we've noticed that locally. Our officers and animal wardens aren't able to have a place for them to go," said Griffin.

Griffin said animal control officers on the south end of the county often have to find other places to store animals until they can be returned to their owners, or until a spot opens at the Summerdale location.

"That's why a regional shelter down here, operated by the county, would be an ideal situation," Griffin said.

But it won't be cheap.

Griffin says their estimate right now is about $12 million for construction of a new shelter and $1.2 million for operation costs.

"We're looking to find out if there's any grants associated with building the shelter - plus how operations could be funded,” said Griffin.

A few years ago, South Baldwin County officials considered building a regional satellite jail to serve cities and the county, but that plan fell apart.

Griffin said he hope this proposal doesn't suffer the same fate.

"It's needed now. It's all about finding the resources to support it," Griffin said.

Griffin said representatives from all three cities will meet with county officials at the Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley next Wednesday to discuss the project.

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