, Muskogee, OK

August 20, 2013

Animal shelter to improve

— By April Reynolds

Times Correspondent

The Fort Gibson Animal Shelter will be undergoing renovations in the coming weeks, said volunteer Darla Briggs.

The facility, which can house up to 10 dogs and 20 cats, will be getting four daylight panels and an outside run, she said.

There are no windows to the outside so the animals don't see a lot of daylight, Briggs said.

The outside run will be approximately 5-feet by 16-feet and will be added to the west side of the building, she said.

And with the installation of doggie doors, the dogs will be free to go in and out as they want, providing a bigger area and more freedom, she said.

“The city is on board to move forward in a progressive way but needs to see more support from the community,” Briggs said.

The shelter has anywhere from seven to 10 dogs a month and many more cats and kittens, especially during the spring and summer months, Briggs said. There are several ways the community can help the animal shelter and its “boarders,” she said. “There are many ways to become more proactive, like reporting abuse or neglect, making sure your pets are spayed and neutered, or by volunteering time,” she said.

The city also takes donations of food, funding and leashes for the animals, she said.

“Everything is appreciated because there is so much need,” Briggs said. “The goal is to find these animals great, loving homes and it has been proven over and over they are more adoptable when they get more attention.”

Briggs is the only volunteer for the Fort Gibson Animal Shelter, she said, but she’d love to have more people volunteering alongside her.

“If just I can do this, think of how much more can get done with the help of more people,” Briggs said. “Animals are just so innocent, and we have to intervene where we can because they have no voice.”

Animal control Officer Jim Whitehead said he’d also like the community to make a better effort at putting collars with tags and contact information on their animals.

“If you put tags on their collars, make sure they have a number or address, so that if they are lost we can get them back to their rightful owner,” Whitehead said. Anyone interested in volunteering or adopting a pet from the animal shelter can email the shelter,, or call the city to make donations, (918) 478-3551.