Animal shelter invests in new outdoor kennels for dogs

The new kennels are larger and made from galvanized steel to keep the dogs safely in their homes.
McKenna Harford /

Stepping out the back door of the Grand County Animal Shelter, guests are greeted with barking, jumping, lolling tongues and rattling cages as adoptable dogs try to grab the attention of possible owners. Now, as the furry friends at the shelter wait for their forever homes, they are doing so in style, thanks to some recent kennel replacements.

In total, the animal shelter purchased and installed 12 new outdoor kennels for their adoptable dogs, as well as two extra kennels for the Grand County Sheriff’s Office to utilize for their K-9 officers.

Mary Ann Kerstiens, animal control officer and shelter employee, said the previous kennels were in desperate need for a replacement because they were beginning to rust and rot, which posed potential risks for dogs getting hurt or getting out of the kennels.

“It was like we need to do something here quicker than not,” Kerstiens said. “It was time to do it.”

Late last year the Grand County commissioners approved $29,000 for new kennels to replace the degrading ones the shelter had used for a dozen years.

Roosevelt enjoys his new home complete with raised plastic flooring, privacy panels, a new dog house and comfort blanket.
McKenna Harford/Sky-Hi News file photo

The new kennels are beneficial to both the dogs they house and the humans that care for them, Kerstiens explained, citing the larger size, the galvanized steel material that makes the kennels safer and stronger, as well as the opaque barriers in between the kennels to provide privacy.

“It’s actually quieted us down because they don’t have as many distractions,” she said. “We want the dogs to be as peaceful as they can be here.”

With the new equipment, the shelter now has an additional small, shared play area where two or three dogs can spend time together.

While the kennels have been put together, Kerstiens said the upgrades aren’t finished. The shelter will be installing slanted roofs and raised plastic flooring to protect the dogs from weather and keep their kennels clean.

“We did get the new flooring for the kennels, which is a benefit for them because the pee will go under the seams so they don’t have to step in it,” she said. “And the roofs are angled so the snow falls off.”

Another feature will be food and water dishes that connect to the sides of the kennels, which allows the shelter staff and volunteers to fill up the bowls without having to enter the kennels and helps keep the kennels clean.

So far, Kerstiens said the dogs have seemed to appreciate their new homes, especially the extra space. Typically, the dogs will spend the majority of the day outside and then come inside overnight.

“I think they like it a lot,” she said with a smile. “Change is always good in a dog’s world and they seem to enjoy it. Like a person, a bigger space is better.”

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