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Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal governmentAnimal Care Appears to Be Progressing on St. John

Animal Care Appears to Be Progressing on St. John

Senators at Monday’s hearing mentioned pets they loved. Pictured above are animals held at the present St. John kennel in Cruz Bay. (Photo from Care Center presentation)

A couple of dozen St. John residents of Coral Bay have raised concerns about the location of an animal shelter in their town.

However, senators in a Committee of the Whole hearing Monday, saying they recognized the role of the Animal Care Center of St. John, appeared to favor the effort to build the kennel. The project on 2.3 acres would include a veterinarian’s office, a classroom for outreach/trainings/meetings, a one-bedroom employee housing unit, a children’s playground, and a walking trail. It would be located on Parcel No. 14 Rem Estate Carolina, Coral Bay Quarter.

An artist rendering of what the new Animal Care Center could look like. (Photo from Care Center presentation)

The Animal Care Center had requested a zoning change from Residential-Low Density to Business, Secondary/Neighborhood. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources recommended that instead, the animal Care Center be granted a land use variance to permit the project with certain conditions.

Michael Milne, testifying on behalf of the Animal Care Center, said the recommendation and conditions were acceptable. One condition was that sound monitoring tests be conducted before the project began. Another condition was that there be no outdoor kennels.

Milne said that by building housing, the animals would be soundproofed. He also testified that it should hold up to 20 dogs and 40 cats.

Ryan Moore, the supervisor at the present kennel, which is on property leased from the government, handles from 200 to 300 animals every year.

In regards to the care of stray animals, Sen. Samuel Carrión said, “We know we have a great need and you play an integral part in filling that need.”

The proposed project had received Senate approval several years ago, but the bill, lacking certain conditions, was vetoed.

Public response to the project has been intense.  According to DPNR’s report, 56 people attended a public hearing, with 26 registering their support for the application.

DPNR also received 72 written correspondences. “Twenty-seven in opposition to the application, 38 in support, five expressing concerns, a support petition with over 500 signatures (150 were residents), and an opposition petition from 18 property owners.”

The money to purchase the lot in Coral Bay was left as an endowment “by a woman who lived on the island and had a soft spot for animals who was involved with the ACC in the early years,” said Moore at an earlier meeting.

Regarding the environmental concerns, DPNR reported, “The Animal Care Center (ACC) would have to meet the various permitting agencies’ requirements and standards for environmental health and safety before commencing construction.”

The Committee of the Whole receives testimony but does not take a vote.

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