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City officials finally open animal shelter but only accommodate dogs

Date: 3/3/2010

March 3, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- The city finally opened the doors to its own animal shelter in February following months of preparations after its contract expired with the Southwick Animal Shelter.

City officials were forced to find a new cost-effective location for surrendered or abandoned animals and obtained one at 178 Apremont Way. The city is leasing the building at a monthly cost of $2,500, including utilities, according to Mayor Daniel Knapik.

"We believe that based on the small group of volunteers [caring for the animals] and the revenue that comes from adoption, [the facility] will be a self-sustaining operation," Knapik explained to Reminder Publications.

Kenneth Frazer, animal control officer, noted the location could accommodate over 15 dogs and an adjacent facility, yet to be built, will house other small animals. He said dogs are the only animals housed at the location presently, because the facility is too small to accommodate more animals.

Frazer noted substantial funds would be required to build a location for the city's other small animals.

He added volunteer veterinarians, veterinarian technicians and other qualified volunteers care for the animals. Frazer noted he has about 50 applications from other potential volunteers.

"The city of Westfield is dedicated to the respectful treatment of dogs within their care and we greatly appreciate the commitment our citizens have shown by volunteering their time, effort and finances to this laudable cause," Knapik said.

The cost to adopt a dog from the shelter is $125 plus a $30 refundable deposit if the animal is not spayed or neutered prior to leaving the facility. The city will refund the deposit upon receiving proof the animal has been spayed or neutered within 60 days of being adopted.

Frazer said work is far from over, despite the shelter finally opening its doors. He added the care requirements for those currently housed at the shelter is constant.

Frazer said monetary donations as well as supplies are greatly needed, including dish and clothing detergents, wet and dry dog food, collars, leashes and stainless steel bowls.

Hours of operation for the Westfield Animal Shelter are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, contact Frazer at 564-3129 or