The very first time I visited the dog adoption area, the odor almost knocked me over. Since then, each time I have visited it has smelled reasonably clean to very clean (no place with 100 or more dogs in kennels, not all of whom get to go out as much as they should will smell perfect). The dogs, of course, are noisy, and there is not much help for that, other then keeping a ground level of activity that is positive for them. Maybe someday, when a new building is built, or this one is renovated, the bars that make the place look like doggy jail and still permit careless contact that can spread disease will go away, replaced by modern Plexiglas...
The cat area was moved from an unventilated basement to this office area even before the change and the area is far from perfect. However, the space gets some ventilation, and the cats get light and entertainment from the windows there. The area is clean, and sensible moves like moving the garbage can that held cleanings from the litter boxes out of the room keep the area from having a strong smell. It is possible to keep cats healthy here with innovation, attention to detail and discipline.
Most of the folks who are working with Kansas City Pet Project are veterans of animal work in this city. The veterinarian worked at Wayside Waifs and I recognized some faces from other animal welfare organizations. This one ingredient of being a city that cares well for animals, bringing one of the metro's largest open-admission shelters up to par, is moving smartly in the right direction.
It was good to see that the initial loss of funding to programs that helped provide services for spaying and neutering companion animals was restored by the Jackson County legislature this week. It was earlier removed in one of those penny-wise/pound foolish moves that pols are famous for. Because animal shelters and other efforts to get pets into homes are just part of a city's proper plan for animal welfare: the sheer number of animals bred must be reduced. That means an aggressive program of sterilization for many animals. That includes making sure that low income pet owners have a way of getting that done for a lower costs. That also means taking care of the strays of the city, whether it is getting them homes or TNR. People are important, but the problem of pet overpopulation is not going to go away--if anything it will get worse--if an investment in prevention is not made.
Meantime, the KCPP is a non-profit concern running the Animal Shelter at 4400 Raytown Road in Kansas City. They take contributions of cash or needed items. The shelter is open most afternoons except closed all day Mondays. Available pets are listened on Petfinder as well as accessed through the KCPP site and via Facebook.
Photos by The Observer, and yes, the young couple in the picture adopted the cat they are visiting.