The T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter is under the administration of the City Manager’s Office, a department of the City of Manhattan. Prior to 2023, it was a department of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Prior to 1988, the shelter was housed at Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo. In 1988, the construction of a new facility was completed at the present site on Levee Drive. While previously only dogs had been provided shelter, the new facility provided housing for 20 dogs and approximately 24 cats.
By 1990, it was obvious the shelter was not large enough to meet the demands created by the enormous number of unwanted and stray animals within the community and surrounding areas. Several discussions took place during the 1990s about the need for a larger shelter.
In 1997, a shelter expansion committee was formed and construction of the new renovated shelter began in the spring of 2000. Completed in January 2001, the shelter then had 54 dog kennels and more than 60 cat cages.
On October 28, 2009, excavation and fill began for the new cattery facility at the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter. Yearly, the shelter handles between 1,200 and 1,500 cats and kittens. The former housing for cats and kittens had failed to ensure good physical and mental health.
A New Facility
The new cattery facility provided the following improvements:
- Separate rooms according to the cat’s status, adoption room, new arrival stray ward, queen, and nursing kitten ward.
- An isolation and treatment room.
- An evaluation room for recovering cats and kittens.
- Separate heating and cooling units to help to eliminate contamination between cat housing areas.
The grand opening of the new cattery facility was held December 12, 2010.