Denison City Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding with Denison Animal Welfare Group Monday. The memo allows both entities to take the next step towards in constructing a new animal shelter that will be jointly used by both entities.

Denison Director of Development and Community Services Kimberly Murray said the council was not approving any funding at this time only committing to an agreement outlining the objectives of both parties.

The new 12,000-square foot facility will help her organization save more animals, DAWG President Stephanie Phillips said.

While the goal of DAWG is to achieve a high live-release rate, Phillips said there are a small number of animals that slip through the cracks, especially those with diseases that can spread from animal to animal. Having a larger shelter will allow DAWG and the city to have space to isolate sick animals if need be.

The shelter is expected to cost $3.5 million dollars with DAWG fundraising $500,000 of that.

DAWG is still facing overcrowding issues in its current facility, owned by the city. Typically, the way DAWG handles those issues is to transfer animals to other shelters. DAWG tends to send out animals 2-3 times a month with trips of as many as 80 animals each time.

“We will be co-housed in the same location so it will be better more efficient delivery of services to the community,” Phillips said. “We will be able to house a larger number of strays. It will keep our city safer.”

The current shelter is 2,000 square feet, and DAWG doesn’t accept animals from the public. It receives it animals from the Morton Street Animal Clinic which serves as the city’s animal shelter. The new facility will move the city pound and DAWG into the same facility with room for new programs. Phillips said this will promote public safety.

“We’re super excited to work with the city, the city is a great partner for DAWG and we’re excited to bring better services to the citizens of Denison.”