After multiple discussions and an ever-growing need, Cache County Sheriff Chad Jensen has obtained bids for the construction of a countywide animal impound facility.
“We kind of ran into some snags about a year and a half ago with places to impound animals,” Jensen told The Herald Journal. “Some of the vet clinics don’t want the strays coming into their facilities, and I understand that with sickness and disease, so we just kind of ran out of a place to to impound animals that people call in.”
Jensen originally proposed the idea and was given a nod of approval to pursue the project — to be built near the County Jail between State Route 30 and 400 North — by the Cache County Council on Oct. 27.
“We catch between 200-300 dogs a year, and 80% of those are returned to their owners,” he told the council last fall. “What I’m asking for is some form of shelter, with food and water, if we have to house them.”
Logan’s program sees an even greater need, according to Jensen, because its animal control unit catches 500-600 dogs a year as well as cats. Logan and many other cities in the county have expressed a desire to partner with the countywide facility.
At the moment, Cache County and Logan’s animal control have contracts with three different veterinarian clinics throughout the valley for loose animals, with Blacksmith Fork Veterinary Clinic and the Cache Humane Society serving the south portion of the county, North Cache Vet Clinic for the north, and the nonprofit Canyon View Intake Facility temporarily filling in for Logan.
“The county is growing, and it’s foolish the county doesn’t have this service,” Jensen said. “You know, in some sense, we’ve kind of been forced into doing it, but a county our size should have a county-run facility that can service the needs of the entire county.”
Lisa Shaw, who has run the nonprofit Four Paws for 30 years, agreed.
“It’s long overdue,” she said. “Brigham City has a wonderful shelter, and they’re a fraction of the size.”
Originally, Jensen was hesitant to approach the council because some estimates for the facility — which would also include a space for a vet clinic program to be run with Utah State University — came in at about $3 million, which was $1 million more than it would have cost in 2019.
“And the longer we wait, the more the cost goes up,” Jensen said.
An initial survey dictated a 10-year projection for the county and estimated a 12,808-square-foot building to fill the growing need of the county. According to Jensen, one firm in Salt Lake City estimated construction at roughly $220 per square foot, which made Jensen look at scaling back the design to cover immediate needs while staying in the $1.7-2 million range.
However, Jensen told the council on Tuesday he’s talked to local contractors about the project and estimates it could be done for between $105 to $150 per square foot, putting the total project cost back to his goal of not exceeding $2 million.
The council unanimously voted to authorize an official bidding process to begin so a contract can be awarded.
Jensen said some contractors have estimated the facility could be operational by the end of the year if construction starts in June, but he said next spring is more realistic.