A few years back leaders in South Baldwin County were pondering having a regional satellite jail to serve cities and the county, but plans changed and it never came together. Gulf Shores City Administrator Steve Griffin hopes the effort for a new animal shelter in the area doesn’t suffer the same fate.

“The same [issues are] coming up with animal shelters down here,” Griffin said. “We’re looking to work together to see if we can get Baldwin County to locate a regional shelter and find out what participation, help, etc., we need from our three cities.”

Griffin said the shelter recently taken over by the county in Summerdale is overflowing and another facility is needed.

“The animal shelter the county operates now is often at capacity and needs more room for animals,” Griffin said. “As we’re growing down here we’re seeing more local regional needs in South Baldwin County. That’s what’s been talked about. We just met yesterday and looked at a shelter in Escambia County.”

On Jan. 16 representatives from Gulf Shores, Foley and Orange Beach will meet at the Graham Creek Center to discuss how they can help the county place a shelter in the region.

“We’re all wanting to find out what we can do to assist Baldwin County to locate one here,” Griffin said. “Whether that’s land or financial help. It’s a work in progress and something may happen Jan. 16.”

Tobi Waters, president of the Gulf Shore Animal Care and Control Program, said ideally a new shelter would be located near an Auburn University satellite built on Gulf Shores land at the northwest corner of the Foley Beach Express and Gateway Boulevard, formerly County Road 8.

“It is our shared goal to have a state-of-the-art animal campus centrally located in close proximity to the new Auburn Veterinary Referral Center,” Waters said. “It would include an open-admit/managed-admit animal shelter, a centralized stray-hold facility for the three municipalities, overflow stray-hold and sheltering for the South Baldwin County area, a preconstructed and designated pet evacuation center, an animal clinic and surgery suite. It would support the campus and the community cat TNR [trap-neuter-return] programs in the area and other companion animal-related support facilities.”

Councils in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach helped start trap-neuter-return programs in September 2017 with seed money. The volunteer groups run on donations.

In Orange Beach, more than 120 cats have been through the program; the Gulf Shores program was formed in August and began trapping in October. There, 32 cats and two dogs have been neutered and 13 cats adopted, Waters said. She said Orange Beach Animal Control Officer Tom Conerly and OBACCP volunteer Stephanie Christie helped the Gulf Shores group start its program.