UPDATE: New Animal Shelter Question on Nov. Ballot in Boone Co.

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BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- It will be up to voters in Boone County to decide whether to take out loans to build a new animal shelter.

The Boone County Board voted Monday night to put a question on the November ballot. It will ask voters whether they are OK with the county borrowing $800,000 dollars to build a new animal center on county owned land on Rt. 756. Animal control officers say the current facility doesn't have the right barriers to prevent disease from spreading between the animals. They say it also has poor ventilation and no area for rescued cats.

BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) – 300 dogs come in and out of Boone County Animal Services every year and staff there say the kennels are in dire need of some upgrades, but the fix could leave families with a hefty bill.

Justin Unger enjoys the rare down time at his job at Boone County Animal Services when he can spend time with some of the dogs.

“I’ve always wanted to help people and to me helping dogs is helping people. It’s a job where animals need help,” says Animal Control Officer Justin Unger.

After six years on the job, Unger has seen upgrades to the building like a new dog washing tub and mats for the dogs to lay on, but staff say more needs to be done.

“We would like to see a whole brand new kennel with proper drainage and a brick wall to block each dog and prevent diseases from spreading,” says Unger.

“We have no isolation room. We have no space to house cats. There’s a lot of modifications that could bring us up to par,” says Animal Services Operations Supervisor Roger Tresemer.

Boone County Board members are looking at one option – building a brand new facility on county owned land along Route 76.

“It’s going to run us around $1.2 million for this facility, and I can’t see putting the tax burden on the tax payers unless they vote for it,” says Boone County Board member Chris Berner.

Berner says an alternative would be to use next year’s dog tag fees to make extra upgrades at the current facility. He think there will be around $30,000 from those in 2015. Unger says whatever changes are made, they’d benefit the employees, plus all the 4-legged friends who walk through their door.

The Boone County Board will hold a special meeting on Monday night to decide if they’ll put a referendum on the November ballot. That referendum would ask voters if they support using tax dollars to build the new animal services facility.

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