Halfway to goal for animal shelter security cameras

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- It was a week ago that we kicked off our campaign to buy security cameras for the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter. Since then, 80+ people have stepped up with donations, raising $5,800.

It's very exciting and we're thrilled to have such a generous community. But we also know some of you have questions about the cause, so we got those answers.

The Tri-Cities Animal Shelter has a problem with people dumping pets, often in the middle of the night, when the shelter is closed. Without knowing anything about the animal, staff could be at risk.

"We don't know what the dog is capable of; we don't know if the dog is possibly vicious," said shelter administrator Amber Young.

The shelter in Pasco also has a problem with theft. People slip a pet under their jacket and walk out with it, their intentions unclear. Amber Young sees both issues all the time.

It was the most recent dumping that also got our attention: a dying dog tied to a post outside the shelter. She couldn't lie down, and she couldn't possibly understand why someone would leave her behind in her darkest hour.

Cameras could help prevent this. They could be used to prosecute those who dump pets and those who steal pets, and they could be checked remotely to see if a box of puppies has been dumped in the cold.

Last week, Moon Security gave us a ballpark quote for the cameras: $10,000. This includes equipment, taxes and installation.

But this quote has been questioned by viewers: "Can't we get something cheaper?"

We brought in a second local company, Tech Links, and representative Dave Puzycki. KEPR took Dave around the shelter as we did with Moon Security.

Dave had the same recommendations on where to put the cameras, likely price, and how to get the best angles. He also addressed some of your concerns about the costs, and why the footage you see here is so clear using a cheap system installed outside a Richland coffee shop.

Reporter: "Help me to understand why a Costco camera at $500 wouldn't necessarily work in a situation like this as it did with the Coffee Bean."

Dave: "The Coffee Bean is a much smaller scale. Their distances in which their cameras need to see is a lot smaller and a lot shorter than they are here at the shelter."

The greater the distance from the camera, the less likely you'd be able to catch someone's image.

The other issue raised by viewers is that if people know the cameras are there, they'll dump an animal in a less humane spot, and then who wins?

Surrendering an animal at the shelter during business hours doesn't cost a thing: Just fill out a form. Dumping doesn't have to be the choice.

"The shelter's not looking out to get you or anything. We are just trying to supply the best possible opportunity for that animal," said Young.

Getting them to their forever homes, and getting the protection they need in the meantime.

We have had amazing generosity, including a single donation this weekend of $2,000 by someone who wants to remain anonymous.

You can donate through this link. Give whatever you feel comfortable with.