The City of Stillwater’s Animal Welfare facility was built in 1984 and currently shares the building with the Humane Society of Stillwater. This arrangement provides residents two options to adopt pets.
A division of the Stillwater Police Department, Animal Welfare provides immediate response to emergencies concerning animals within city limits. Animal Welfare workers attempt safe, humane handling of any dog, cat or other domestic animal or fowl that becomes a nuisance or is a threat or danger to any resident in Stillwater. Animal Welfare officers are also responsible for the protection of animals from inhumane treatment.
Stillwater’s 37-year-old Animal Welfare facility has not kept pace with the growth and needs of the Stillwater community.
Because of lack of funding, the Animal Welfare building has been unable to make many upgrades and improvements through the years. As a result, the City has been limited, and in many cases prevented, from partnering with Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which is the only veterinary school in the nation that has a shelter training requirement for its future veterinarians.
Animal Welfare faces the following issues because of its outdated facility:
Kennel holds only 20 dogs; City takes in more than 1,000 dogs a year
Building infrastructure is outdated; facility is not ADA compliant
Layout is inefficient and outdated; dogs must be taken through the cat room on arrival
Inadequate space for employees, files, storage and supplies
No space for visitors; hinders adoption process
Despite these shortcomings, Animal Welfare does an excellent job handling the large volume of animals it receives through four primary ways:
Abandoned at the shelter
Surrendered by the owner
Rescued by Animal Welfare officers from substandard conditions
In 2020, Animal Welfare took in 1,751 animals (1,027 dogs, 724 cats). Those animals left the shelter by the following methods:
Transfer to a rescue group, such as Humane Society, Tiny Paws, etc. (36%)
Reclaimed by Owner (18%)
The euthanasia numbers represent animals that are too sick to rehabilitate and adopt, or animals that do not have a temperament to adopt (usually feral cats). No animals are euthanized for “convenience” issues.
The national standard to be considered a “no-kill shelter” is a 90% live release rate with no animals killed due to lack of space issues. At a 95% live release rate, Stillwater Animal Welfare is clearly a no-kill shelter. Space issues with the current Stillwater shelter could jeopardize that distinction. A new, bigger shelter would all but eliminate that concern.
It is clear that Stillwater’s current Animal Welfare facility on South Main Street does not adequately serve the community. There is a wonderful opportunity to create a new facility to better serve the people and the animals of Stillwater.
Also, with a new facility, the City could build an even stronger partnership with the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine and its shelter program. Such an enhanced collaboration could create vast benefits for the City’s Animal Welfare efforts and OSU’s veterinary training.
The projected cost for a new Animal Welfare building is $3-4 million. A new facility would allow City of Stillwater’s Animal Welfare unit to better carry out its mission and valuable services to the community, such as:
Take in and shelter stray or unwanted animals and provide care
Adopt unclaimed and surrendered pets to new homes
Enforce city, state and federal animal-related ordinances and statutes
Perform welfare checks and/or ensure proper care and housing
Assist other agencies on request: Payne County Sheriff's Office, veterinarians, game rangers and the local humane society
Respond to calls concerning:
Barking dogs or dogs at large
Nuisance cats and dogs
Aggressive, sick or injured animals
Ensure proper handling and vaccination of biting animals (rabies control)
Record lost and found animals and contact owners
Contact animal rescue groups and coordinate with local animal groups
Keep records as required by state and federal laws??
The City of Stillwater is committed to engaging citizens as it evaluates the pressing improvement needs already identified, as well as those gained from citizen input. The City will also seek citizen feedback on funding the projects.
The City will be holding community meetings in fall of 2021 across Stillwater. For the purpose of the meetings, the City will be divided north and south by Hall of Fame Avenue and east and west by Duck Street, forming four areas. Meetings will be held in each quadrant.
Community Meeting Schedule
August 24, 2021, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Stillwater Middle School
September 7, 2021, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Highland Park Elementary School
September 14, 2021, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Will Rogers Elementary School
September 21, 2021, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Student Union Theater
September 23, 2021, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Stillwater Junior High School
As part of its plans to engage Stillwater residents in the process, the City will be forming various citizen committees to provide guidance and oversight.
Residents can also give input on the projects at any time by visiting the T.I.M.E. Projects page on the City's civic engagement platform, Speak Up Stillwater.
The community input will help guide the City Council as it determines the best course forward for Stillwater.