Renovated shelter a step in right direction

Published 10:43 am Friday, October 16, 2015

The Brookhaven city pound is — and for years has been — a sad excuse for a shelter. To be fair, it’s never been operated as a true animal shelter. It’s simply where the city kept the discarded animals it didn’t know what to do with.

But that will change soon. With a $20,000 boost from the city, a group formed with help from Brookhaven Animal Rescue League will renovate the facility and bring it up to “humane” standards, according to Lu Becker with BARL.

A wall to protect the animals from winter winds will be constructed. New kennels will go in as well. Shade trees will also be planted. The plan is to have an office space to allow for easier adoptions of the animals.

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It won’t be the facility animal lovers have dreamed of, but it will be a vast improvement over what’s there now.

It will hopefully give the dogs there a chance at a better life.

But a renovated shelter is just a part of the solution to the city’s dog problem. The animal control department must have the authority to issue fines for violations of the city’s animal laws. If that can’t happen, the police department will have to get in the animal control business.

Animal Control Officer Roxanne Norton currently has very little authority to enforce leash laws, Becker said.

“They just laugh at me,” Norton said. “I tell them to put them up, and they’ll put them up. Then I’ll drive away, and they’ll let them right back out again.”

“She is good, she’s just had her hands tied. … We want the city to give her the authority to start ticketing people for animal abuse, and we have a leash law that’s not being obeyed,” Becker said. “She [Norton] doesn’t have the authority, but we’ve asked the city to give her the authority – or the police department actually – to give her whatever training she needs, or whatever authority she needs, to ticket.”