IN Focus: Lawrence mayoral candidates square off

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LAWRENCE (Oct. 11, 2015) - The candidates for Mayor in Lawrence are sharing their views on the city's key issues on this week's edition on FOX59 IN Focus.

Mayor Dean Jessup, a Democrat, is running for re-election against Republican council member Steve Collier.

Last week, one key issue made news when the council discussed the possibility of a new animal shelter in Lawrence.

Residents took the unusual approach of bringing their dogs to a council meeting Monday, showing their support for a new animal shelter.

The city of Lawrence shut its shelter down in 2013, after officials found deplorable conditions inside, leading to the death of three dogs and a cat. It was later revealed that the animal control officer had been unsupervised and rarely checked on the animals.

Now, city councilors are pushing for the shelter to be re-opened in a new location on Shadeland Avenue as a no-kill shelter devoted to animals in Lawrence.

"We’ve got a lot of plans to make this one of the top animal shelters in the state," councilor Linda Treat, D-District 2, said.

"I think the city of Lawrence, as big as we are, we really need to have some kind of responsible animal shelter," councilor Steve Collier, R-District 5, said.

Councilors voted 8-1 for a resolution voicing their support for the new shelter and plans to pay for it to open, along with relying on volunteer support.

They had the support of residents who brought their dogs to the meeting and were visible outside the doors of city hall.

"I want them to see that there (are) people in this community that care and do want a no kill shelter," supporter Sue Read said.

Despite that support, Mayor Dean Jessup has not agreed to re-open the shelter and the city has reportedly made plans to sell the building councilors hoped to use for the shelter.

Councilors said that they hoped the public would weigh in and make their voices heard, to potentially sway the Mayor's decision.