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‘Raise the Woof!’ rally urges voters to approve a new Kansas City animal shelter

At rally for animal shelter, mayor suggests what to tell opponents of Question 3

During the "Raise the Woof!" rally at the J.C. Nichols Memorial fountain Sunday, Mayor Sly James had a suggestion of what people should tell opponents of Question 3. The bond package would include replacing the city's dilapidated animal shelter.
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During the "Raise the Woof!" rally at the J.C. Nichols Memorial fountain Sunday, Mayor Sly James had a suggestion of what people should tell opponents of Question 3. The bond package would include replacing the city's dilapidated animal shelter.

Dozens of pet lovers along with their dogs gathered Sunday at the J.C. Nichols Memorial fountain to throw their voices and barks behind a bond package that would include replacing Kansas City’s dilapidated animal shelter.

“If you’ve been to the KC Pet Project, you would understand why we need to get an up-to-date facility that doesn’t stress the dogs out,” said Michelle Bruckner of Kansas City.

The current facility was never meant to house the number of pets it does, said Bruckner.

Bruckner, along with her partner Jennifer Smith and her daughter Eleanor Smith as well as Josie, a dog they are fostering for the KC Pet Project, attended the “Raise the Woof!” rally to urge people to vote yes on April 4 on Question 3, which includes the new shelter plus other city building upgrades.

It is one of three city-sponsored questions on Kansas City’s ballot. The questions include $600 million for streets, bridges and sidewalks; $150 million for flood control; and $50 million for city building improvements. Each requires a 57.1 percent voter approval to pass.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said voters would have an opportunity to take care of problems that have needed attention for a long time.

“When you go out on April 4, take a friend with you,” James said. “Our polling numbers are good, but our polling numbers aren’t good if the people who were polled don’t show up to vote. We need every single positive vote showing up on April 4.”

In jest, James suggested people tell those who are going to vote against the election that the election is on April 6.

If Question 3 is approved, the city says, it will spend $14 million in bond funds, along with millions in private contributions, on a new animal shelter in Swope Park near the Kansas City Zoo and Lakeside Nature Center.

The shelter’s price tag has drawn opposition from critics, some saying that kind of money should be spent on homeless people and that the city should work with other animal shelters.

The animal shelter, however, is only part of the ballot question. The rest of the $50 million in Question 3 would go for city building improvements, especially addressing Americans with Disabilities issues.

“This is about a substantial program that has a real effect on everyday life for people today who are not getting access to other opportunities that so called ‘normal’ folks get access to,” said David Westbrook, chairman of the Kansas City Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities.

John and Johnna Perry of Liberty showed up at the rally with their dog Kolh and carrying signs that read, “This former shelter dog wants you to vote yes on 3.”

They attended the rally to show their support for their friends in Kansas City as well as for the KC Pet Project, which they have been working with for a couple of years fostering dogs.

“It’s such a reflection on the entire community of Kansas City — not just Kansas City proper, but our entire community — how we treat our pets,” Johnna Perry said.

Teresa Johnson, CEO of KC Pet Project, gave a tour of the Kansas City Animal Shelter on Raytown Road in March 2017. Since then, KC has moved forward with building a new animal shelter in Swope Park.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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