'Long overdue' - Stamford Animal Shelter seeks to build new facility

The city of Stamford needs a new animal shelter - something that's been agreed on by mayors past and present and there is a public hearing next week to discuss building a new shelter.
"Take a look at it and you'll see, it looks like a county jail. It's 60 years old. It was built at the time when shelters were really just holding pens really," said Stamford Animal Shelter Alliance Board President Nancy Freedman.
The Stamford Animal Control and Care Center takes in about 300 animals a year.
"The building is just not sufficient for the animals we house here," said Stamford Animal Control officer Tilford Cobb.
The animals face each other - causing excess stress. The physical condition of the facility shows peeling paint, rusted door frames and crumbling cinder block walls.
"It's cramped, there's not enough storage space, the ground has flooded in the past," said Freedman.
Cobb says the current heating system in place is not appropriate for the animals.
The current facility also isn't up to state standards.
"State law actually requires that shelters provide for isolation and quarantine rooms for example. Currently there are no such rooms in the Stamford Shelter," Freedman said.
The Stamford Animal Shelter Alliance is the fundraising arm of the shelter. The group has a plan for a new state-of-the-art facility.
"I am fully supportive of rebuilding this shelter. Our animals deserve it, our residents deserve it. It's long overdue," said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons.
The facility will cost $4.9 million. Freedman says with fundraising and a previous allocation, they need $4.4 million from the city.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the capital budget Tuesday night.
"We need the public's support. We need everyone to understand that there's truly a need for the animals here. We are often pushed to the end of the list," said Cobb.
Freedman is encouraging residents to come to Tuesday's hearing to speak out, "Because the animals cannot speak for themselves."
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