The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter has temporarily cut its adoption fee by more than 50 percentâ€”from $110 to $45â€”so air-conditioning units and new insulation can be installed in a rear kennel area.
“We can’t have the animals in here when we re-apply the insulation,” said Julie Armes, Oak Ridge Animal Shelter supervisor.
The rear kennelÂ area has 40 dog runs,Â but it has never had air-conditioning. Temperatures thereÂ can exceed 90 degrees. Although the shelter hasn’t had any heat fatalities, Armes said the heat is hard on cats and short-nosed dogs, such as pugs.
She said the shelter, located on Belgrade Road in east Oak Ridge, is losing money on the reduced fee, but the goal is to have as many animals as possible adopted before the old insulation is torn out and the new insulation blown in.
City employees expect the work to be done soon, although a date hasn’t been set.
The shelter now uses a half-dozen large fans, including giant ones that inject a spray mist, to cool the rear kennel area.Â Armes said she has put ice in dog water bowls to help them stay cool.
“It was hot back there,” she said.
She said animals that haven’t been adopted by the time the air-conditioning units are installed will go to Little Lake Pet Lodge in Marlow at a reduced rate of $10 per day per animal. Some smaller cats and dogs will be able to stay at the shelter.
Armes vowed to do her best to keep the animals from suffering a worse fate.
“I’ll put them in my office if I have to,” she said.
During a tour Tuesday, the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter had about 33 dogs in the rear kennel area, three full puppy cages in the front of the shelter, and about 25 full cat cages.
Armes said the two new two-ton air-conditioning units will be installed at aÂ cost of $16,214, including labor but not insulation. It will cost $12,500 to remove the old insulation and add the new. The shelter hopes to use prisoner labor to help with the work, and that could save about $4,200, Armes said.
The shelter serves about 3,900 animals each year, including from Oak Ridge, Anderson County, and Clinton.
The adoption fee was lowered Aug. 1, and Armes said she isn’t sure how long it will stay reduced. The fee covers a spaying or neutering, a microchip, nail trim, de-wormer, flea and tick drops, and rabies and booster vaccines.
The reduced feeÂ has been advertised on Facebook, at veterinary clinics, and through word-of-mouth advertising.Â There has been more recent interest in adoptions, although Armes said she isn’t sure how many have been adopted.
“We’ve been so busy,” she said.
More pictures will be added later.