Only animal shelter in Johnson County, Missouri, could be shut down this fall

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The largest and lone animal shelter in Johnson County, Missouri, could be on the verge of shutting down.

Kayla Frank puts her whole heart into her work at the Old Drum Animal Shelter in Warrensburg.

“Before I started, the euthanasia rate was over 50%,” she said. “Since I’ve started here, it’s down to less to 1%, so it means a lot.”

The acting manager was devastated to learn earlier this week that the Warrensburg City Council is considering completely defunding the shelter.

“We’re the town of Old Drum, the town of man’s best friend,” she said. “We are who people call for help, and we’ve always been able to move dogs through, and now this is going to leave people nowhere to go.”

Amber Atkins, a Warrensburg resident who has adopted and rescued several dogs from the shelter, agrees.

“They do so much for the community,” she said. “Without them, most would be lost. Our animals would be sick. Lots of animals would be running around, and we don’t want these poor babies to suffer.”

“We are interested in finding a solution,” said Harold Stewart, city manager for Warrensburg.

Stewart said it’s been a tough year due to the coronavirus. The city is facing a more than $900,000 deficit and needs to make at least $500,000 in budget cuts.

“We have a responsibility to the taxpayers to have a balanced budget and provide core services to our citizens,” he said.

Stewart added that the city is open to the shelter being privately run and aiding in a possible partnership.

“They want to see a positive outcome out of this,” Frank said.

She said her latest conversation with the city gives her hope, but the deadline on the shelter’s future is looming.

Workers at Old Drum have been trying to clear out the shelter in case they are forced to close the doors on Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The council could decide at its next meeting on Aug. 24.

Warrensburg Cat Advocates, a local nonprofit, has started a fundraiser to save Old Drum, with 100% of donations supporting the shelter. If you would like to help in any way, click here.

You can also reach the shelter at 660-747-7156.

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