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We can all be part of improving the animal shelter’s present and future

While the headlines were dominated in 2020 by the havoc created by the COVID-19 virus, there were stories that made their mark in a positive way.

One such story, that involved passionate views and was not always the most cordial, that ultimately resulted in a positive result was the long-debated new animal shelter for the city of Vicksburg.

The year started with tours of existing facilities and potential sites for the construction of a new facility, but the process was slowed by the virus and impacts to city finances. There were presentations at city meetings of plans and options and then strong debate about the pace in which the project was moving.

But as this year comes to a close, the city of Vicksburg is closer to taking ownership of property and a building that will ultimately become the city’s new shelter. A building and property along U.S. 61 South were donated to the city for the new shelter, saving the city and taxpayers a tremendous amount of money that will ultimately give all involved exactly what they wanted and what is needed.

The talk of a new shelter has been discussed for years and there was no argument as to the need, just good debate as to the scope and scale of the end result. With much of that debate resolved in the acquisition of a new facility that will be built out to fit the needs of the city’s animal shelter, it is now time to turn our attention and energy toward making the facility the best it can be.

And that is where the citizens of Vicksburg can step up and show out.

The city’s animal shelter has long had an Amazon wish list where residents can go and purchase items the shelter routinely needs or other items that would be greatly appreciated. In sharing the list on their Facebook page, animal shelter officials called the list items “stuff that we use daily and some are things that are nice to have around if needed.”

“I also have on (the Amazon wish list) new critter cages so that we have decent ones for new critter arrivals,” Animal Shelter Director Kacie Lindsey wrote. “Everything we have is falling apart or borrowed.”

The list, which is updated regularly, can be found at https://amzn.to/34S3L2C.

With a shelter that is aging and a demand that is growing, it is tough for the dedicated staff of the shelter to do what they do without our help. And, there is an easy and direct way to help.

The Friends of the City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter, a non-profit organization, was formed in recent years and is dedicated to supporting the shelter in its mission and providing things city finances simply cannot.

“Our mission is to support the City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter,” the group writes on its Facebook page. “We are a group of volunteers that are dedicated to the welfare and general health of animals in our community.”

These dedicated, animal-loving volunteers will also play a key role in fleshing out the needs for the shelter once the new facility is ready. Once the new property and building have been finally acquired by the city and construction plans drawn up, officials with the organization said they will then hold fundraisers to provide additional equipment and enhancements that take our community’s new shelter to the next level.

But, there is no need to wait until the property and building are acquired and plans drawn up. With just hours remaining in 2020, take the time now to make a contribution to this organization — a tax-deductible contribution — that would allow it to start building funds now that can be invested in the new shelter and its operations.

Contributions can be mailed to P.O. Box 820204, Vicksburg, MS  39182. For more information on the Friends organization, call 601-831-6779.

This year has been a tumultuous year by all accounts. There is plenty we will look back upon and hope to forget, but the movement on this project alone — a project that has been needed for so long — is something we should be proud of.

Be part of the process and do so today, either by granting the shelter one of its wishes on its Amazon list or through a year-end contribution to the Friends of the City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter.