I am writing in response to the April 13, 2014 Viewpoint letter submitted by Craig Strid of Rhinelander with the purpose of clarifying statements made regarding the “Animal Shelter.”
On July 1, 2012, the Oneida County Humane Society, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, took over operations of the former City operated Rhinelander Animal Shelter. Now known as the Oneida County Humane Society Adoption Center, the facility at 1852 North Stevens Street is fully and solely staffed by OCHS employees. The land and property are still owned by the city of Rhinelander and issues related to the building are addressed jointly by OCHS and City officials. Financial responsibilities for maintenance and repair to the building and building systems are shared according to an annually agreed upon Animal Shelter Operating Agreement between the two parties.
In an effort to address winter safety issues at the Adoption Center, OCHS and the city arranged for a volunteer construction team to build a new roof over the dog kennels behind the building. The intention of this new roof was to cover sidewalks that were regularly ice-covered and dangerous for staff and visitors. Despite everyone’s best intentions and preparation for this project, the structure built by the volunteers did not live up to expectations. OCHS and the city requested multiple assessments of the new structure and it was decided to dismantle the new roof following the consensus that it was not properly constructed and posed the risk of collapse under a snow load. The structure was dismantled prior to any collapse. The cost of materials was shared equally by OCHS and the city and a portion of the materials were salvaged for other projects.
With the icy sidewalk issue still needing a solution, a new approach was taken to the dog kennel problem areas. With guidance, support and man power from the city and local contractors, the old dog kennels were removed and new were installed at the rear of the property, thereby opening up the yard for dogs to run and play. Despite the rough road travelled, we are grateful for where we are now and thank the community for their continued support, all for the animals.
Karla Ortman, OCHS