CLEVELAND - Janet Menko is very familiar with the current conditions inside the Cleveland City Kennel on West 7 Street.
Menko is one of more than two dozen volunteers at the facility and she rescued her dog Archie from the kennel just last year. Menko is also a member Facebook groups Advocates for a New Cleveland Kennel and Cleveland Kennel Volunteers.
Menko told NewsChannel5 Cleveland animal advocates want immediate improvements at the existing Cleveland kennel and they want more information on a proposal to build a new kennel on the city's west side.
"It's pretty bad. The building is about 35 years old," Menko said. "The kennels are concrete kennels. The sealant on the concrete is worn so the material is very porous and it makes sanitation extremely difficult. Dogs are getting sick."
Menko adds staffing is also an issue. Currently, there is not a vet on staff at the facility.
Menko told 5 On Your Side the kennel relies on dozens of volunteers who are doing the work of eight fulltime employees.
"They need more cleaning staff, they need a rescue coordinator to help get these dogs out of there and they need a new building," Menko said.
Karren Warren of Highland Heights also rescued a dog from the Cleveland City Kennel. Her daughter's dog, Violet, was taken from the kennel just three weeks ago. Warren and other local animal advocates are concerned plans for a new Cleveland City Kennel may be a myth.
"Six months have gone by and we really have no information," Warren said. "Unless we put pressure on the city, we don't really know anything. It would be nice to know who is going to build it. Any information to show that they're moving forward so I think it's lip service."
Advocates for a New Cleveland Kennel set up an online petition drive in an effort to insure the city takes action on a new facility.
Meanwhile, NewsChannel5 went directly to Cleveland Animal Warden John Baird in the search for answers. Baird assured 5 On Your Side plans to build a new Cleveland kennel within the next two years is a reality.
"There is a new kennel coming to the city of Cleveland," Baird said. "I've been lucky and fortunate enough that I've been able to be at every design meeting since the beginning."
"It's just a matter of getting everything the right way. We want to make sure we put up the proper size kennel for what we're going to be doing in the future."
Baird also confirmed that a part-time staff veterinarian will be hired at the kennel within the next month to help reduce the number of animals that are getting sick at the facility.
"We are also in the process of setting up a contract with a local animal hospital, so it can help us with our needs," Baird said. "We also need more people to come down to the kennel and adopt cats and dogs."
Residents interested in adopting a dog at the Cleveland kennel should call 216-664-3069.
The address is 2690 W. 7th St., Cleveland, OH, 44114. The hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Anyone looking for their lost dog can stop down during those hours.
Tips for those who have lost or found a dog in or near Cleveland posted on this website.