Dogs are once again being housed in the New London Animal Shelter, but part of the building remains unusable due to damage incurred by Hurricane Sandy.
Public Works Director Tim Hanser said the portion of the shelter used to house dogs taken in by the animal control officers was reopened on Friday after it was deemed safe for use by the fire marshal and building inspector.
During the Oct. 29 storm, a tree fell on the shelter and damaged the roof. The animals at the shelter were evacuated to the Montville facility. Deputy Chief Peter Reichard of the New London Police Department said animals picked up in New London have been brought there since the storm, and the shelter in Waterford has also been used recently.
Concerns over limitations at the other shelters due to the influx of New London animals contributed to the decision to reopen the kennels in New London. Montville Animal Control Officer Chris Martel said that while the Montville Animal Control facility was happy to help the city, the pound was “overflowing” due to the additional animals.
“We were just out of space,” Martel said. “Our pound is much smaller. We just didn’t have the room anymore. It’s not like we kicked them out.”
Hanser said the tree has since been removed from the building, but the office area will remain closed since it has not been approved by the fire marshal and building inspector.
“The elements are being kept out, but I wouldn’t say there have been any repairs,” said Hanser.
Reichard said the shelter is only holding dogs at this point and other animals are being handled on a case by case basis. He said there has been no change of policy on euthanasia due to the shelter damage. While the shelter office is unusable, the animal control officers are working out of the Truman Street substation.
Wendy Eckholm, secretary of the Animal Welfare League of New London County, said she was concerned with the current situation. She said she did not think the partial reopening allowed sufficient points of egress in case of fire and was worried that there might not be enough heat in the kennel area.
“I know New London is in a jam, but there’s got to be a better solution,” she said.