Tyler makes $550,000 offer on future animal shelter site - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Tyler makes $550,000 offer on future animal shelter site

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Since the city began working with a Jacksonville shelter about five years ago, Tyler has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sending stray cats and dogs from Tyler to Cherokee County Since the city began working with a Jacksonville shelter about five years ago, Tyler has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sending stray cats and dogs from Tyler to Cherokee County
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - On Thursday, the City of Tyler made a conditional offer on a property that could house their own animal shelter.

The 10-acre plot is located off of Highway 31 West toward Chandler. While the list price, according to the listing online, was $715,000, the city made a $550,000 offer. City officials also have 30 days to back out of the offer. They say they want to make sure renovation costs don't exceed their budget before making the purchase final.     

However, 62-acres of donated property in Southwest Tyler is waiting to one day be home to stray cats and dogs in Tyler and Smith County. The SPCA of East Texas is building their new shelter and dog park there. They'd hoped the city would build a shelter next door, but the city says that route is not the best use of their money.

"At the end of the day, we were asked to wait and we did. Now the city is saying they don't want to build on our land," said SPCA of East Texas President Deborah Dobbs at the Tyler City Council Meeting Wednesday.

Wednesday, city council voted to move in a different direction. City officials say they've already invested $200,000 in building a temporary holding facility on the SPCA's property. That's where strays currently spend a few hours before being transferred to a shelter in Jacksonville.

The city says if they built a permanent shelter there it would cost them another $400,000 because the area of land they say the SPCA is asking them to build on is not near any roadways. They say those expenses would go toward building infrastructure, like roads. It's an expense the city wanted to split with the SPCA, but the two groups couldn't come to an agreement.

"Our monies need to go toward our adoption center. That's what the donors want," says Dobbs.

"The city has to move forward, so we felt like the best route at this point for us was that we were in the drivers seat," explains Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel.

The property the city is looking at instead is at 4218 Chandler Highway. The listed agent for the property is city councilman Mark Whatley. Whatley excused himself from Wednesday's discussion and vote regarding the purchase of the property. The city says they are aware that he would make a commission off of the sale.

Over at the Pets Fur People, formerly the Humane Society of East Texas, director Gayle Helms says regardless of where the shelter goes, it's time local stray animals have a place close to home.

"Since we're a selective admission, no-kill [shelter] we can't help them all,' she says.

Gayle says she is glad to see the city get the ball rolling on their own animal shelter, but she says building a shelter is just the beginning.

"We just need to have better enforcement. We need some rules pertaining to spaying and neutering, possibly licensing of animals and microchipping," she says.

Gayle says she'd like to see the city and county partner and one day make a regional impoundment facility, but for now a city shelter will do.

Since the city began working with a Jacksonville shelter about five years ago, Tyler has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sending stray cats and dogs from Tyler to Cherokee County. City officials say investing in their own shelter would help them cut down on those costs.

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