Warren eyes animal shelter alternatives

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Town officials are taking their first fledgling steps toward finding a new home for the Warren Animal Shelter.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Warren Town Council gave the police chief authorization to look for a new home for the shelter and put out an RFP, or Request for Proposals, soliciting ideas. What they entail — leasing a new building, constructing one or some other option — has yet to be decided. But Chief Peter Achilli said his plan is to "research" the matter and report back to the town council as it heads into the upcoming budget season.

"I'm trying to take a step in the right direction," the chief said.

The shelter is overcrowded and inadequate, and lies in a flood plain that necessitates panicked moves to higher ground whenever a large tropical storm approaches. Several weeks ago, state inspectors acting on an anonymous complaint toured the Wood Street facility and noted several changes that need to be made; volunteers have said for years that the cinderblock building has long outlived its usefulness.

Council president Chris Stanley said that while he can't speak for the rest of the council, the time has come to find a solution for Warren's animals and its shelter.

"Clearly the condition of the animal shelter and its possible renovations are key issues," he wrote in an e-mail.

And while all options are on the table, Mr. Stanley suggested that coming up with a regional solution could be in Warren's best interest. Barrington does not have its own shelter, and Bristol is in the process of building one. Could Warren's be piggy-backed with one of the other?

"It is a very real goal to establish a regional shelter if our needs are met and it's cost efficient," he wrote. "There have been casual discussions … other communities are in a similar position and this is why the RFP proposal is moving forward."

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