Humane Society's shelter may open in South Lake Tahoe

Thanks to the potential reopening of an animal shelter in Meyers, El Dorado County Animal Control may get some relief from the overcrowding its facility is facing.

The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently matched the $100,000 anonymous grant that was offered almost two years ago to fund the animal shelter. It has been closed for four years.

"I have my fingers crossed that it will happen by the end of September," Society Executive Director Dawn Armstrong said. "But I can't commit to any date."

Robert Gerat, Animal Control's senior officer, said he hopes the reopening of the shelter will take some of the animal load off of the control and allow people another option for pet adoption. Animal Control brings in about 1,500 animals per year, according to Gerat. Because the building only houses 22 cages for cats and 18 cages for dogs, Gerat said he generally has to euthanize two dogs and two or three cats once or twice a week.

The county control was not at full capacity Wednesday because, Gerat said, a group of animals had been euthanized the day before. There were 18 cats and kittens in a variety of colors crying and playing. In the separate dog kennel there were 11 dogs of mixed breeds and colors ranging in age from 2 to 5 years. Gerat said the dog cages would be full by the end of the day.

Gerat said the Humane Society shelter would be a positive addition to the animal-care community.

"We've always worked well with the Humane Society," Gerat said. "Our goals are the same in our community."

Armstrong said she is in the process of staffing the shelter and has yet to see any viable candidates for the manager's position.

"There are some positions we can train," she said, "but the manager needs to have considerable experience."

The shelter was constructed in August 1994 by charitable contributions. It shut its doors close to two years later, unable to pay the $10,000 to $12,000 per month it cost to operate.

Armstrong said the public's willingness to support the shelter again shows that it has a place in the community.

"As long as a single animal has to be euthanized (because of the overcrowding of Animal Control) there's a need for a shelter," Armstrong said.

Mark Cohen, owner of Overland Meat Company, supported the shelter, providing a jar at his business for donations.

"I would love to see (the shelter) open," Cohen said. "I think it's needed in this town and it's long overdue."


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