Former vet clinic mulled for humane society digs|[12/22/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2006

A former veterinary clinic near the Vicksburg Branch of Hinds Community College of Vicksburg was mentioned Thursday as a possible new site for Warren County animal control operations.

Supervisors, meeting informally, said the former Animal Medical Clinic, 6739 Paxton Road, had potential as one of three options.

Others are expansion at the Vicksburg Warren County Humane Society’s existing site east of U.S. 61 near the city airport or new construction. Combining efforts with the City of Vicksburg is also a possibility.

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In addition to its other work, the humane society provides animal control for non-city areas under an annual contract with the board of supervisors. Vicksburg operates a separate animal control department with municipal facilities and staff.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald said the board hoped to speak with the humane society president, Georgia Lynn, about the clinic property, which is for sale. Owners have moved into a new building at 100 Thalweg drive, off U.S. 61 North.

Reached Thursday afternoon, Lynn said she doubts the former Animal Medical Clinic, as it exists, is large enough or properly configured for an animal shelter. It has individual kennel space for about 52 or 53 animals, Lynn said.

&#8220Last week we had more than 100 dogs,” Lynn said. &#8220And that’s not even counting cats.”

A potential city-county collaboration has been discussed intermittently over the past 5 1/2 years. As talks broke off three years ago, supervisors passed an animal-control law less-restrictive than the city’s and hired the society in a $125,000 contract. It was the county’s initial venture into any type of animal control.

The city has continued to fund its operation at about $180,000 a year.

Both Lynn and Mayor Laurence Leyens have described their respective animal shelters as in dire condition. Leyens said Thursday he thought the city and county governments were at or near agreement on an equal partnership to build a centrally located facility but that the location had yet to be identified.

The humane society’s facility is about 1,800 square feet and the city’s, off North Washington Street, about 2,000 square feet.

Lynn said the humane society has researched how to design an addition to its facility and has delivered specifications to architect Paul Ingram.

&#8220Something needs to get in the works now,” Lynn said. &#8220It needs to be a facility built specifically for an animal shelter.”