Group buys building for animal shelter

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Facility will replace overcrowded location on Nicholas Street

By Amber Coulter

Pets up for adoption soon might have better living conditions before going to permanent homes.

PAWS Shelter Foundation Inc. has entered an agreement to purchase a single-level, 17,000-square-foot shell of a building at 220 Peterson Drive in Elizabethtown to give Hardin County a newer, larger facility for Hardin County Animal Control.

Foundation members expect to close on the building around Oct. 1 and raise $1 million to prepare the building to operate as a shelter.

The vacant building, which foundation President Deedie Layman thinks was built for manufacturing purposes, has never been used and has no interior wall of design.

“It’s perfect for an animal shelter,” she said.

Layman said the new shelter is expected to include updated technology to control the spread of illnesses among animals.

It also will allow cats and dogs to be separated, provide a room specifically for pets that are ready to be adopted and include a room where patrons can get acquainted with pets they’re considering adopting, Layman said.

“We’re in the beginning process, but I’m very pleased with the way it’s moving,” she said.

The present shelter on Nicholas Street in Elizabethtown is expected to be vacated and given as a gift to the county to use for storage when the new facility is completed.

The current shelter, which was built in 1956, is antiquated and doesn’t have enough room, Layman said.

“The living conditions for the puppies are not the best in the world,” she said.

District 3 Magistrate Lisa Williams said need for a larger shelter will continue to increase as the county’s population increases.

Having a bright, new facility likely will cause an increase in the number of people volunteering at and adopting from the shelter, she said.

Williams said it’s refreshing to see residents approach the county with a workable plan to solve a problem, rather than asking the county to build a new facility without offering a workable plan for how that can be done.

“We are just absolutely thrilled that we have citizens in the community who are stepping up and taking on the challenge of building a much-needed animal shelter,” she said.

Williams said she learned of the effort to build a new shelter through her work on the committee overseeing Hardin County Animal Control and her long acquaintance with Layman.

“She is the godmother of all the animals at our shelter,” she said.

Williams is speaking to community organizations as a private resident to help the foundation raise money for the shelter.

The opening date of the new shelter depends on how quickly the foundation can raise the money needed to prepare the building.

The foundation will kick off its fundraising effort Sept. 24 with “Mutt Strut,” which encourages pet owners to walk with their dogs for a cause at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the 2K walk begins at 9 a.m.

Volunteers also will conduct the “Mutts Bucket Brigade” Sept. 24, during which they’ll collect money on the roads of Elizabethtown.

The activities and support of local restaurants will make up the weekend’s Pet Palooza event to kick start fundraising.

Layman said donations as little as $1 are appreciated.

“This is a community effort,” she said. “It’s going to take everyone to get this built.”

Donations can be made to www.pawsdonations.org and PAWS Shelter Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 1116, 42702. Checks should be made out to the foundation.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization, so contributions are tax deductible.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.