Animal shelter group holds second organizational meeting

Abby Cavenaugh Editor

January 15, 2014

The second organizational meeting of the Friends of the Anson County Animal Shelter drew nearly 50 animal enthusiasts to the Lockhart-Taylor Center Jan. 14.

Interim Health Director Wayne Raynor started off the meeting by giving an update on where the animal shelter currently stands. “We are moving right along,” he said. “Things are falling into place.”

However, he said there is still a lot of work ahead for potential volunteers, the county commissioners and the members of the animal shelter planning team.

To recap, the new Anson County Animal Shelter, which is scheduled to open in April, will be located in the former Brown Creek Animal Hospital on U.S. 74 in Polkton. The facility is 5,500 square feet, Raynor said, and is an excellent facility for an animal shelter. He expressed his appreciation for Dr. Danny Wright, who is providing the building at a reduced cost and has been working closely with the planning team to make the animal shelter a reality.

“The research and development of policies and procedures is under way right now,” Raynor said. “At this point, we’re looking at dogs and cats only. And we are focusing on spaying, neutering and adoptions.”

Start-up hours are currently planned for Wednesdays through Fridays, 1-4 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. “We may consider adoptions by appointment in the future,” Raynor said. “The operating hours may also be expanded in the future.”

The animal shelter will employ a shelter manager, two shelter workers, a new animal control officer and the current animal control officer. The Friends of the Anson County Animal Shelter will be led by a seven-member board, which will have three at-large members chosen from the general public.

County Manager Lawrence Gatewood, who’s a part of the planning team, said he is “truly excited” about the animal shelter project. “No. 1, it’s long overdue,” he said. “And No. 2, there’s a huge amount of support in this community.”

The idea of starting an animal shelter was first brought before the Anson County Board of Commissioners in September. With the shelter scheduled to open in April, Gatewood said, “This project is moving swiftly. That is a rapid pace for any form of government, especially county government.”

One-time start-up costs for the shelter total $76,450, which includes new vehicles. The annual budget is estimated at $212,626, which includes staffing. When asked how the facility will be funded, Gatewood said the commissioners have approved that budget, but have also encouraged the planning team to find other sources of funding.

Once the Friends of the Anson County Animal Shelter is an established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a board of directors, grant funding can be sought.

“Spaying and neutering is one of our main goals,” Sheriff Tommy Allen said. “Every dog and cat that leaves that facility will be spayed or neutered.”

One person in attendance asked if there would be a program in place for low-income people to be able to spay and neuter their pets. Carol Ann Gibson stated that the Health Department has a program in place already, and to contact the Health Department for more information.

“We hope to expand that program, but that depends on funding,” she said.

Questions were also raised about the feral cat population and what could be done to remedy that situation. Again, that would depend on funding, Allen said.

“We’ve got a serious problem in Anson County and we want to turn that around,” Gatewood said.

For more information about the animal shelter, call 704-994-3201.