The construction of the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s animal shelter project is on hold, pending an environment assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, FEMA wrote his office that the construction project is required to pass the assessment first.
“We have a letter from them telling us not to start,” Apatang added.
He told Saipan Tribune that the Saipan Mayor’s Office has already sent FEMA all the necessary documents needed to begin the assessment. He also thanked Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for his work in securing funding for the construction of the shelter, especially with the CNMI government undergoing austerity measures.
Apatang said the Saipan Mayor’s Office was able to secure $324,000 in federal assistance for a new facility. He said they are trying to secure an additional $80,000 to cover other expenses and that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres assured that there will be money for this project.
“As of this date, the Mayor’s Office is still waiting for feedback from FEMA about when the assessment will be conducted, and without this assessment, the construction of the shelter will stay on hold,” Apatang said. He said his office was able to secure the required permits from the Bureau of Environmental Coastal Quality, the Historic Preservation Office, the Zoning Office, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The original animal shelter in Lower Base was destroyed in 2015 as a result of Typhoon Soudelor and the building was condemned after the typhoon.
Since then, the Dog Control Program has been housing stray dogs in a temporary shelter in As Perdido.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, the new shelter will be approximately 5,500 square feet, which is nearly the same size as the old shelter that was destroyed. Apatang said it will house 40 dog kennels, 10 cat kennels and 10 more for sick dogs.
Apatang said that once this new shelter is open, the Mayor’s Office is open to anybody who would like to volunteer.