Jun 28, 2021 - News
Bentonville to add 2 new animal shelters
Illustration of two dog houses.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Yes, two animal shelters are coming to Bentonville at the same time.

Why it matters: A city of its size needs its own shelter, according to Ali Worley, Bentonville's animal services manager. Right now, it has a contract with Centerton to take stray dogs to its shelter and does not take cats.

What's happening: The city plans to build its own. And a national nonprofit organization, Best Friends Animal Society, also has a pet resource center in the works, which will serve as a regional facility for several animal-related services.

The city will have an adoption program, education programs and a foster program, Worley tells Axios. It also regularly hosts events to microchip pets.

  • The city facility, at the corner of Southwest I and Southwest 41st Streets, will cost roughly $3.1 million in construction costs and another $600,000 in start-up costs like furniture and equipment, all of which will be paid for out of the city's general fund, Worley says.

Best Friends' pet resource center will have an adoption program but will heavily rely on fostering out pets, Jackie Roach, senior manager for the center, tells Axios.

  • It would like to partner with a local veterinarian to offer spay/neuter and vaccination services to low-income pet owners, Roach says.
  • Best Friends' center may help people who have lost or need to rehome their pets or offer short-term housing for pets whose owners are leaving a domestic violence situation or are having an extended hospital stay.
  • The facility at 1312 Melissa Drive will cost about $14.5 million to construct and another $2 million in start-up operating costs, Roach says. Best Friends got a $892,500 grant from the Walton Family Foundation for architectural design and engineering.

Worth noting: Both facilities will serve cats and dogs. Neither will euthanize animals based on space or how long they've been at the facility.

Flashback: A few years ago, the city was talking with Best Friends about working together on a pet resource center. It didn't work out.

  • Now, they say they will be a mutual resource for one another.

What's next: The city hopes to start construction in late summer and expects construction to take about a year.

  • Dirt work has started on the Best Friends pet resource center with tentative plans to open late summer 2022.
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