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Community upgrades Dillingham Animal Shelter

Molly Dischner/KDLG

Six guys and a truckload of cement - that's what it took to make a major upgrade at the Dillingham Animal Shelter happen.

DILLINGHAM: We’ve all seen things in our respective hometowns in this region that need fixing…. Who among us hasn’t thought – if we could just get some people together, and maybe a little money or material, I bet we could fix that – well, this week six guys and a truck load of donated cement made a major fix at Dillingham’s Animal Shelter, and it didn’t cost the city a dime.

KDLG's Molly Dischner reports:

Last year, two dogs died and another was sent to Anchorage after an outbreak of parvovirus at the animal shelter. Parvo is highly contagious, mostly affects dogs, and can be deadly. The old outdoor pens had dirt floors and couldn’t be easily cleaned.

So this week a group of volunteers got together to do something about it. To make the shelter a little better.

“Oh definitely an improvement," said Dillingham's animal control officer Dan Boyd.

Credit Molly Dischner/KDLG
Dillingham Animal Control Officer Dan Boyd helps pour cement into a frame at the animal shelter August 19, 2015, as part of an effort to upgrade the four outdoor pens.

Boyd guided the city’s move from the old shelter up Lake Road to the location at the harbor where, hopefully, more people will notice the impounded dogs as they come and go from downtown. That’s part of the purpose of the outdoor pens.

"Yep, we had ‘em out here and they were great as they were but we weren’t able to clean and sanitize them like you really should do at an animal shelter, like we can do on the inside," Boyd said. "We got a concrete floor in there that I can sanitize every day, just make it a clean environment for the animals.”

Budgets are tight, so Boyd was thrilled when the volunteer group opted to take on the task. The pricetag was basically $0, except for his hours on the clock as a city employee.

“Everything’s been donated, volunteer-wise," Boyd said. "The lumber, the pegs that hold the forms in the place, the wire, has all been donated. The help has all been donated. And, it’s just a really nice thing to have Chris Ming donate the concrete to make this endeavor possible.”

The effort was spearheaded by Paul Liedberg, who’s retired except for his role as a city councilman. He could’ve tried to push this project through officially; put it out to bid, see the contract awarded. Instead he rounded up helping hands and asked around for some cement, and as he and another volunteer nailed a frame together, seemed proud to see it happen.

Credit Molly Dischner/KDLG
Paul Liedberg and Bob Henry build a wooden frame at the animal shelter in Dillingham's harbor on August 19, 2015.

“I think the key things are, there’s just lots of support for this facility, lots of volunteers that do many things to help the community," Liedberg said. "And this is just one of them.”

Liedberg said about a dozen or more people helped, including folks who gathered supplies and prepped the pen sites, and the guys who showed up for the concrete pour.

After a few hours Wednesday, Liedberg said there’s not much left to do.

“Take the forms off, and then we’ll add a little material around the edge of the forms just to slope it, material being gravel, just like this, and that’ll be about it. So in a few days it should be totally complete,” Liedberg said.

It may be a simple project – pouring concrete slabs at the dog shelter. And it may go largely unnoticed. The volunteers don’t want credit or attention. They do want to see this job done – and maybe set a small example on how to tackle the next ones.