Construction underway on new Faulkner Co. Animal Shelter, set to open fall of 2024

GREENBRIER, Arkansas – After years of voluntary levy from Faulkner County residents, the Faulkner County Animal Shelter is now in the construction phase.

“The concept of this animal shelter dates back to before 2005,” Faulkner County Administrator Randy Higgins said.

The Quorum Court at that time passed an decree that initiated a voluntary tax where people could voluntarily check a box to give a percentage when paying personal or real property tax.

“We know at least for a long time that there have been concerns about an animal problem in Faulkner County, especially now with all the growth we’ve seen,” Higgins said.

Higgins began his work on the Quorum Court in 2011, where he has monitored the growth of voluntary taxes.

“We finally got $1 million, and it was like, ‘We have a lot of money here, can we start the project?’ And that’s when we started looking at what we could do,” Higgins said.

They decided that the money could pay for the shelter but not the operation after construction. They knew they needed more money, which became the next hurdle over the past few years.

“We initially got to the point where we were approaching $2 million in voluntary levy, so we hired a consultant to help us determine the size we needed, the growth opportunities, and all the demographics,” Higgins said.

Meanwhile, while working with the consultant, they found a plot of land. A flea market is looking to sell on four acres.

The Quorum Court approved the purchase of the building and land for $400,000 and began doing indoor and outdoor functions on the land.

That’s when American Rescue Plan money became available, and Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson began working to obtain some of that money.

Then the Faulkner County Quorum Court got the money and approved a new plan.

“We will be using American Rescue Plan funds to remodel this facility for just under 1.2 million,” Higgins said. “The benefit for us was that the money raised over all these years to build the shelter was now allocated to operating the shelter minus what we paid for the building.”

Getting the shelter up and running has been a huge win for them, Higgins said.

“The excitement as well as being able to get the project up and running has been tremendous,” Higgins said.

Construction will take about 180 days and has already been completed for two months.

“I talked to the contractor and we’re on time now, on schedule, so that’s good news,” Higgins said.

Look forward to opening the doors this fall with excitement from the community, Quorum Court and law enforcement.

“Initially, the shelter will support law enforcement and Faulkner County as they respond to animal calls,” Higgins said.

Last month, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department received more than 80 animal calls and had to respond with limited resources.

“This will be a huge tool for them to be able to handle the animals properly; right now, they can just write citations,” Higgins said.

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