Louisa McCune leads enthusiastic coalition for MAPs4 Animal Shelter

One part of the MAPs4 program, on the December 10 election ballot in Oklahoma City, would provide funding for a brand new “no-kill” shelter facility and program. 

Louis McCune, a prominent civic leader, has long advocated the idea, and worked hard over the past few years to advance it in meetings with city leaders. She led an effort to include what advocates deemed a “PAWs for MAPs” proposal in the newest installment of the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPs) programs that began in the early 1990s. 

MAPs has over the past 26 years financed downtown-area improvements that sparked a Renaissance in the city core. The new package, crafted after a series of community meetings last summer, extends to neighborhoods and special projects the “pay-as-you-go” approach that avoids taxpayer debt. 

In an exchange with The City Sentinel, McCune reflected: “For the first time, Oklahoma City voters will have the chance to extend our city’s renaissance story to animals.”

She continued, “The Oklahoma City shelter staff are doing a great job, but they are extremely limited by the building itself. With this new facility, we will reduce needless euthanasia, create a more welcoming environment for visitors, and a more humane outcome for animals.”
According to cost projects enacted by the City Council in August, the MAPs4 Animal Shelter will cost $38 million, as part of the overall package of $978 million. City sales taxes will not increase, as the measure would sustain existing provisons.  

“This project will be a game changer for our city, impacting all neighborhoods and citizens. In the spirit of previous MAPS projects, the proposed new animal shelter will be transformational,” McCune told The City Sentinel.

When she appeared before the Oklahoma City Council to advocate for the shelter last summer, McCune said: 

“Humane cities are characterized by the presence of leadership, institutions, and policies working collaboratively across systems. To implement and sustain improvements in overall collective welfare, a Humane city has policies and infrastructure promoting health and well-being that transverses all aspects of public life. In this way, the ideal forums are institutions that operate at the intersections of humans and animals, namely animal shelters, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, natural resource management, and urban planning. … 

“I’d like to be crystal clear in setting the social context surrounding our proposal. Fundamentally, we believe that animal well-being is a critical variable in community health. An animal shelter is an essential piece of the social and municipal fabric of a place, much like a fire department. It offers a vital and measurable dimension of the human community; a well-designed and well-funded animal shelter is part of the portfolio of benefits found in vibrant city life. Truly, human health metrics are connected—in quite direct ways—to how we treat animals. 

“There is robust research to support these underlying concepts. Considering human and animal health and welfare together deepens our understanding of the factors involved and creates a solutions-oriented approach to overall health and welfare issues.” 

NOTE: Patrick B. McGuigan is publisher and editor for The City Sentinel newspaper, which has endorsed the MAPs4 program.