Major improvements underway at Burrillville Animal Control headquarters

Shelter to remain open in limited capacity

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BURRILLVILLE – The town is rebuilding the kennels and offices that house Burrillville Animal Control, with a major demolition and construction project that will result in more space for the animals, and bring town facilities up to code.

The $700,000 rehabilitation was funded as a capital improvement project and the price was controlled with help from the Department of Public Works. DPW officials completed site work, including some demolition, parking and drainage. Martone Construction will do the rest, replacing most of the current facility.

“We went to bid, and it came in really high,” DPW Director Jeffrey McCormick told the Town Council last week. McCormick said the town saved money by changing some elements of the design and completing much of the work in house.

As construction gets underway at Clear River Drive, Animal Control offices will continue to function with the help of three trailers that have been brought to the property: one for dogs, one for cats and one for humans. The facility operates with a staff of two full-time employees with the help of volunteers, returning stray animals to their owners and placing unclaimed animals up for adoption.

Much of that work will continue with “business as usual,” according to Deputy Animal Control Officer Kerry Courtemanche, with officials picking up strays as needed. The temporary shelter will still have plenty of space for cats, but dogs will only be housed there short term before they are moved to larger facilities in Smithfield and Glocester.

“Our construction trailers have heat and air conditioning,” said Courtemanche. “We will not be 100 percent capacity, but we will continue working with cats as normal business. For dogs, because we have limited size, we can only give it a day or so for the owners to come and get it.”

“We’ll try to get them back to the owner and then they’ll have to go to another town,” said Courtemanche, noting that the shelter will not be holding animals that are up for adoption.

“People can still come and see us,” Courtemanche added.

Once complete, the roughly 1,300 square foot facility will be replaced with a new 2,400 square foot building with added storage, a wash room for the animals, and a quarantine section.

“It’s going to be a little bigger than it was before,” said McCormick.

The new building will also feature radiant flooring.

“It will be nice for the animals and the people that are working there, and it’s efficient,” McCormick said.

The project, officials note, is long overdue. The town’s current facility is believed to have been built sometime in the late 1960s and is out of code with modern standards for animal housing. Only the newer concrete garage on the property will remain.

Courtemanche said the department’s small staff is “very excited,” about the changes, which are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.

“It was in dire need of replacement,” agreed McCormick. “It will be a nice Christmas gift for the animal control people.”

Soon after, the town hopes to begin work on a new dog park adjacent to the property. That project is still in the permitting process with work expected to begin next spring.

“It’s a next year project,” McCormick said.

Residents can still reach Burrillville Animal Control via their main number at 401-568-9480 for all inquiries.