New Seward Animal Shelter Update


By a unanimous vote on May 29, 2018, the City Council voted to create a fund to support a new animal shelter! $167,922 will be drawn from various sources which will create the first concrete step toward a new shelter. This is NOT the entire amount needed to build the shelter. The shelter will take much more than that. But this is a huge step forward.

Every member of the city council and administration deserves thanks for their effort. City council members Marianna Keil, Sue McClure, Rissie Casagrande, Suzi Towsley, Mayor David Squires, Erik Slater and Jeremy Horn; city manager Jim Hunt and finance director Kris Erchinger all support the new shelter. And not just in concept - we're beyond that now - but support in the sense of a demand for doing it right - for a precise understanding of terms and responsibilities, compliance with meeting protocol and in creating an animal shelter we can be proud of


A group of supporters of a new animal shelter met several times this spring and most recently June 18, 2018, to talk specifically about how to create a new shelter. We are fortunate to have solid representation from the city in the group as well as board members of SOS Pets and business owners.

Next step is for SOS Pets to meet with the city to discuss a "cooperative agreement" which may create a framework for further funding and coordination of community skill sets. SOS Pets is an IRS tax-exempt public charity that may help to create cost efficiencies.

We’re hoping for a meeting in mid-July.


The most likely city parcel for the new shelter is on the south side of the Dieckgraeff road about 1000 feet west of the Seward Highway.

New Seward Animal Shelter
New Seward Animal Shelter
New Seward Animal Shelter

City Parcel

In addition to providing a city parcel, the city has committed to providing the electrical services and site preparation. Also, a recent resolution allows some city equipment and staff to be used after hours on the new animal shelter.


Over the past 20 years, SOS Pets has collected many suggestions about what is absolutely required, what makes sense and what would be cool if we can afford it.

Summary of responses to an informal survey of interested supporters of a new Seward animal shelter April 2018

The shelter will be welcoming, warm, cozy and hopeful. All standards defined by the Guidelines for Standard of Care in Animal Shelters by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians will be met or exceeded.

Survey respondents identified these activity areas: kitchen, break room, small pets, adoption, classroom/training, pregnant nursing and quarantine, vet area. All these functions are combined into two rooms, one focused on medical vet care and the other focused on human/ animal encounters.

The quarantine room will accommodate intake, quarantine, minor vet procedures, vaccinations, exam, holding, space for pregnant/nursing animals. The room has separate HVAC system, is located most distant from dogs and cats, has a separate entrance and can be used by staff or police for after-hours animal drop-off. Shower required for staff who become contaminated by ill animals.

The adoption room will provide a comfortable space for meeting animals, training, small group meetings, and library.

An outdoor cat and dog area ranked high among respondents. For both dogs and cats, the outdoor area is covered and fenced with cement floor. Outdoor dog kennels are fewer than indoor because large fenced outdoor run serves the same purpose.

Dog kennels will be sloped toward individual trench drains and have in-floor heating.

Cattery will be homey with soft elevated beds, places to hide and perch, dark areas for shy cats, many cat scratching posts and cat trees.

All surfaces with high animal traffic will be nonporous, like an epoxy sealed cinder block.

Facility faces south to maximize natural light and warmth.

Critical HVAC system will allow 10-20 air exchanges per hour. Heat capturing device included. Temperature stays within 60-80 degrees F.

The large mechanical room will also accommodate laundry, janitorial and storage.

The large open lobby will be comfortable, colorful and naturally lit through south-facing windows. Sound reduction techniques will be used in high traffic areas.


I (Mark Luttrell) took this information and came up with a draft (I mean DRAFT as in something to start from) floor plan. Here it is:

New Seward Animal Shelter

Based on the top floor plan, I came up with a conceptual drawing to give all of us who are visual thinkers a place to start. Again, this is a DRAFT, it's just a place to start.

New Seward Animal Shelter