Advocates ask Richland City Council to fund a new animal shelter

RICHLAND, Wash. — Advocates are trying to build a new animal shelter in the Tri-Cities, but to do so, they need funds from each of the cities’ councils.

The Tri-Cities Animal Shelter in Pasco was built in the 1950s. The latest major renovation happened over 50 years ago.

Julie Webb, a volunteer, says the current building is too far gone for repair.

“You can’t deep clean it. There’s nothing more we can do,” Webb said. “It needs to be demolished and they deserve a new building.”

She cited issues like drainage, a collapsed roof, peeling walls and awful smells.

Webb also started the hashtag, #NothingFancyJustFunctional, a social media campaign she hopes will help the community understand why they’re pushing for a new shelter.

Ashley Schoenwald, another animal advocate, says the shelter’s current conditions are so poor, they are affecting pet adoption rates.

“There are people in the community who won’t even step foot in the Pasco animal shelter today because of how bad it smells,” Schoenwald said.

Schoenwald added that a new plan has been in the works over the last decade but the final step is funding.

The Pasco and Kennewick city councils have agreed to $2 million each, Schoenwald said. However, they need another $2 million from Richland in order to move forward.

Currently, Schoenwald says the council has agreed to $1.5 million but refuses to give the remaining $500, because of cost-per-square-foot concerns in the new design.

“It’s frustrating being a Richland resident and having our council not committing to this project,” Schoenwald said.

Webb added that without the community’s help, nothing would change.

“We have a voice that needs to be heard and we are speaking for those animals that don’t have a voice,” Webb said.

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