Board seeks way to cool cats in a hot shelter room

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The dog days of summer are upon us, but it’s the cats at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter that are feeling the heat.
To correct that, the shelter Advisory Board approved steps on Tuesday to add air conditioning to the shelter’s cat room.
Board chairman Mike Barnett explained the shelter was not getting adequate air flow into the cat room because the air conditioning system had not been extended to that space.
As a result, the temperatures in the cat room stays in the high 70s to low 80s, with humidity reaching high levels at times. Shelter staff have opened the windows and placed fans around the room to try to bring some relief to the feline residents.
“This is something we need to move quickly on,” Barnett said. “We think it is stressing the cats because of the heat.”
The board has been working for months with Murray Mechanical and Landmark Corporation to fix the problem. Barnett said someone was expected at the shelter to balance the current cooling system to see if it would bring relief, but they had not yet been on site.
The board had also received a quote from Norwell to install a ductless air conditioning system to the room. Barnett explained they were trying to give the original installer a chance to work on the problem before going in a different direction.
Barnett added that he asked why the air conditioning was not added to the cat room during construction, and was told the board voted to cut it to meet budget.
“I do not believe the board would have done that,” Barnett said. “It is something that is critical. There is nothing we can do about that now. What we do have is a room that stays in the 80s and we can’t let the animals suffer while we are going back and forth with these companies.”
Shelter Director April Jones and board member Meg Brown pointed out that all sound recordings of the meetings had been kept as well as minutes, so the board could go back and review those to determine if that decision had been made or not.
Jones said the repair was critical and needed to be done for the cats’ sake.
She said she had been told the shelter had a two-ton unit installed and that it would not support the addition of the cat room to the cooling system.
Board members approved allowing the current installer a few days to respond to balance the system and start on installing the new unit. In that time, the shelter staff will be researching temporary solutions, like free-standing air conditioning units. If the current installer has not responded in around a week, the board will consider moving ahead with a different provider.
Jones told the board the shelter’s truck had been vandalized again. This time the wiring to the coolant system was cut. She said the truck was parked in an area the security camera should have picked up, but the street light outside was out and nothing showed on the tape.
The board is also planning a golf tournament fundraiser on July 12 at the Elizabethton Municipal Golf Course.

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