Local builder donates time, raises funds for new animal shelter

Vicki Clark Gourley
Home builder Jim Abernathy, left, walks Village Animal League’s Tom Wolfe and Cheryl Steckler and The Village City Manager Bruce Stone, right, through his plans for the new Village Animal Shelter.
Jim Abernathy, a home builder, who lives in The Village and loves animals, volunteered to donate supervision of the new Village Animal Shelter (VAS) and raised $47,000 from his friends in the construction industry.
Last week he met with City Manager Bruce Stone and Village Animal League (VAL) board members Tom Wolfe and Cheryl Steckler at the site to review progress and finalize plans.
Abernathy reported they are making significant progress.
Wire fencing kennels and all the existing concrete around the enclosures have been removed. All wiring was removed in advance of the new electric service, which will have new wiring and lighting.
“Existing plumbing was disconnected and removed and we are preparing to rough in the new plumbing in the next week or so,” Abernathy said.
Also, workers removed the entire ceiling was removed and placed shoring in advance to install the new heating and air conditioning system.
“This alone will be a real game-changer regarding the comfort of these animals while they wait for a new home,” Abernathy continued.
The large steel frame roof structure between the kennel and building to the south is set to be reinstalled with metal roofing panels that will keep the dogs under a roof when inside the outside portion of the enclosures. The inside part should be completed in early June.
Abernathy plans to begin plumbing work reconfiguration and installing new water and drain lines for the kennel within a week or two.
This project requires a substantial new drainage system for the indoor and outdoor kennels that will tie directly into the city sewer system.
Sometime in June, openings will be cut through the concrete block walls in the existing six kennels and the four new kennels to accommodate the modern Mason Kennel Doors. These allow the dogs to be inside, outside or both.
“This is another essential component of the project for the dog’s well-being,” Abernathy said.
New chain link exterior kennels will be added. A new roof structure over the north outdoor dog runs and preparing for the new pet play yard come near the end of the project.
“My first-time projection for the VAS Kennel Rejuvenation Project was 90 days,” Abernathy said. “We intend to do all we can to beat that and get these terrific animals a nice new temporary home.
“There are many folks responsible for making this happen, and we want to thank everyone who has given their time, talent and treasure to make this a reality.
“There are items on the ‘Wish List’ for this project that are not yet wholly funded. We would ask and encourage anyone who can to help with this project financially to send donations to The Oklahoma Humane Society, Memo: The Village Animal League,” Steckler said.