The City Sentinel, Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY — A proposal for a new, state-of-the-art animal shelter was unveiled Thursday (July 11) to Mayor David Holt and the Oklahoma City Council. The new shelter would cost approximately $43 million and include up to 67,000 square feet. Prior to the presentation, a brief rally of supporters was held on the east lawn of City Hall.
PAWS for MAPS 4 Education Director Louisa McCune addressed the crowd by saying: “Our animals deserve better, and they need your voice. It’s time for MAPS to address the municipal animal crisis in Oklahoma City in a transformative way.”
McCune said the shelter no longer meets the need for a city the size of Oklahoma City, adding that 476 animals had to be euthanized in June alone, mostly the result of overcrowded, outdated, and inadequate facilities.
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Superintendent Jonathan Gary joined McCune for the presentation to the Council.
“Today, Jon and I are proposing a completely new Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Resource Center,” said McCune. “This would involve demolishing and replacing the existing municipal building. Fundamentally, we believe that animal well-being is a critical variable in community health. An animal shelter is an essential piece of social and municipal infrastructure, much like a fire department. It offers a vital and measurable dimension of the human community, and a well-designed and well-funded animal shelter is part of the portfolio of benefits found in vibrant city life.
“Oklahoma City’s existing animal shelter is completely obsolete and insufficient for a city our size, and we believe this is the perfect next project for MAPS. We implore the city council to give it every consideration.”
Exterior and interior renderings by Todd Edmonds of HSE Architects were presented. Among many features, a new facility would:
– Provide vastly improved public areas and necessary office space
– Provide excellent veterinary facilities including equipment
– Provide a welcoming, attractive architecture and environment
– Allow separate entrances for safety; sick animals would not be using the same
entrance as healthy animals; adoption and surrender would have separate
– Provide vastly improved environment for visitors and animals
– Provide more and larger cages to meet demand
– Use all of the best practices for contemporary animal sheltering
– Provide unique spaces for partner organizations
– Provide unique species-specific spaces like an aviary and cattery
– Improve the livestock barn
– Restore the existing pet memorial area dating to the late 1940s
– Provide vastly improve park-like setting and attractive entrance
“We believe it’s time for MAPS to address animal welfare in Oklahoma City,” McCune told the Council. “If we neglect the animals, we’re no better as a city than our peers. In fact, we are demonstrably worse.”
McCune pointed out that the animal shelter is a critical city service that affects people throughout the city.
“Building this will be transformational for our city, its residents, and the animals,” McCune said. “It will impact every street, every neighbor, and every neighborhood in our city, a MAPS project that truly benefits everyone. The role of the animal shelter is not merely about housing lost or homeless animals—it’s about facilitating vital connections between people and animals.”
For more information, visit pawsformaps4.com.