FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. – Nearly a year after its projected completion date, the Faulkner County Animal Shelter sits empty, causing frustration throughout the county.
In 2000, Faulkner County started collecting money for the shelter through a volunteer tax.
By 2021, the county had raised $1.4 million, enough to purchase the building and pay for the renovation.
At the time, county leaders were projecting it all to be completed by August 2022.
Dana Venable helps with animal rescue efforts in Mayflower and she spoke about the money that has been raised for the shelter.
“That money has been sitting there for quite some time and it’s time to take some action on that and do something,” Venable said.
Friends of the Faulkner County Animal Shelter President Donna Clawson spoke on community thoughts after the shelter’s completion.
“It was about 3 months of high hopes and then disappointment,” Clawson said.
Clawson said a wrench suddenly got thrown into plans 20 years in the making.
“The quorum court didn’t want to get anything done and then just have to close the door because we couldn’t maintain it,” Clawson said.
Clawson said the group was short about $1 million needed to maintain the shelter once things got open, extra cash she’s hoping will come from American Rescue Funds.
She said she hopes the quorum court will approve the allotted amount in the next couple of months, but until then she’s left waiting.
Smaller shelters within the county say they’re frustrated with the progress made.
“We are out of resources we don’t get any additional help. this is money out of our pockets and time, and emotionally its exhausting,” Venable said.
At the Mayflower Animal Control Center, dogs are doubled and tripled up in kennels. City leaders said they need help to house them.
“We have an overpopulation of unwanted dogs in this area,” said Venable.
Venable says the shelter will be a good start to a growing problem but wants the county to invest more into regulate ownership.
“I feel like we need to go deeper than that and get to the root of the problem,” Venable said.
Clawson said she hopes funds will be allocated soon and says once they are, the shelter should only take six months to complete.