Zootoo, Humane Society finalize renovation plans

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 9:52 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 29, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Central Missouri Humane Society's renovations, paid for by, will start in a few weeks, board members said Tuesday night.

The society's board of directors met to discuss the status of the Zootoo renovations, a "puppy mill" ballot initiative, a shelter policy on heartworms and a possible kennel expansion.

Zootoo renovations

Board President Jim Loveless told the rest of the board he had finalized renovation plans with representatives from Zootoo. Richard Thompson, the CEO of Zootoo, told the humane society not to release details about the renovations until construction begins.

Loveless still believes construction will begin in two to three weeks.

Loveless said Thompson was interested in coming to Columbia to manage the construction. The New Jersey-based CEO plans to visit often to oversee the more important phases of the project.

In April, the humane society won a contest from Zootoo that funds a $1 millionrenovation of its facilities.

"Puppy mills" initiative

The board also endorsed a puppy mill ballot initiative, which aims to improve living conditions of dogs owned by breeders.

The initiative seems logical for an animal shelter to endorse, board member Genie Rogers said. However, it could in turn cost the shelter more money if more dogs were seized.

The board unanimously voted to "support the spirit and intent of the puppy mill initiative."

Heartworm medication

There is a nationwide shortage of a popular heartworm treatment medication made by animal health company Merial, and it could affect adoption in Columbia. The company stopped making the drug temporarily, and it is only releasing the medicine on a case-by-case basis. Working dogs have higher priority.

The shelter doesn't put animals up for adoption if they are not healthy, said Margaret Lee, a shelter veterinarian.

Kennel expansion

The board agreed to proceed on with a 25-foot-long kennel expansion separate from the Zootoo renovations. Board members hope to start construction on the $25,000 to $30,000 project right after the other renovations are finished.

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