Officials continue drive for new animal shelter in Vicksburg

Published 5:05 pm Friday, January 31, 2020

Vicksburg animal shelter director Kacie Lindsey sat in her office and laid out the case for a new shelter for the city.

“We need a bigger shelter; we need to be out of the flood zone and out of the flash flood zone, also, and preferably more centrally located,” she said. “We also need to separate the cats and the dogs, so the cats aren’t stressing the dogs and the dogs aren’t stressing the cats.”

The shelter, Lindsey said, is at capacity with about 60 animals, including four hamsters.

Lindsey, who was hired as shelter director in 2017, has been pushing for a new animal shelter, and city officials have been looking at potential sites to relocate.

“We have plans for the shelter itself drawn up,” she said, “it’s just a matter of where we’re going to be putting it up. Depending on where we go, we may have to make it bigger.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, who is over public works, which includes the animal shelter, said there are two potential sites for the shelter. He declined to discuss the cost of the project, pending a decision on the site, adding he may have more information Monday.

Mayfield said the search process has been narrowed to three options: relocate on city land on Sky Farm Avenue, purchase land for the shelter, or expand it at its present site.

The shelter presently sits on a tract of land on Old Mill Road adjacent to the Vicksburg Fire Department’s training center.

According to flood insurance rate maps for the city, it is located in what the Federal Emergency Management Agency terms a “special flood hazard area,” for a 1 percent annual chance of flood — a base flood or 100-year flood. The shelter was flooded in the 2011 flood, and animals at the shelter had to be evacuated and relocated. It was threatened in the 2019 flood.

Flash flooding surrounded the shelter during the last major rainstorm.

Mayfield said the option to relocate the shelter at its present site involves expanding the building toward the east side of the property and building an 8-foot tall wooden fence to serve as a buffer.

The Sky Farm Avenue site is 2 acres of city-owned property on the southwest corner of Cedar Hill Cemetery. The city property, Mayfield said, is the city’s first option. He said he expects to meet with the owner of a 1.5- to 2-acre tract off Cherry Street Monday.

Buying the lot is the third option.

“I do think that (site) is as central as you can possibly get,” Mayfield said. “It’s very adequate as far as acreage, you have great buffers, an area you can fence in for walking, an area for side runs. It’s almost perfect.”

Lindsey said the new shelter will have a quarantine area for sick animals and puppies, intake area where the animals will be examined, get their shots and be wormed, runs, an adoption room to let animals spend time with the person adopting them, cat room and a small dog/puppies room and outside access.

“Everything will be under one main roof,” she said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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