After a fast-track planning process, Anson County's new animal shelter is on schedule to open around mid-April, County Manager Lawrence Gatewood said.
New animal services director Becky Wilson started on Monday, and a new animal control officer, Mark Pankey, has been been hired and will start on April 14. “The next couple of weeks will be devoted to moving, planning and preparing (ordering supplies, establishing schedules, hiring two part-time employees) to open the shelter around the middle of April,” Gatewood said. “The dedication and open house is set for Saturday, May 17; this is about month after our planned opening. We wanted to give staff time to get moved and organized before the open house.”
Gatewood said support is strong in Anson and surrounding counties for an animal shelter, which is why the project was near the top of the county commissioners' priorities this year. “Based on the overwhelming positive feedback that we've received, the vast majority — I'm estimating 99 percent or more — of our citizens care about pets and are supportive of the new shelter,” he said. “The primary funding will come from tax dollars and it will be supplemented by voluntary donations of food, supplies and money.”
The animal shelter's annual budget will be about $225,000 a year, Gatewood said, which will include the maintenance and staffing of the shelter, two animal control vehicles, equipment and supplies. One-time expenses will total about $75,000, he said.
Another way the county is funding the animal shelter is by creating the nonprofit organization, the Anson County Friends of the Animal Shelter. The nonprofit will manage fundraising and donations for the shelter. The seven-member volunteer board for the Friends of the Animal Shelter include Sheriff Tommy Allen, County Manager Gatewood, interim Health Department director Wayne Raynor, animal services director Wilson, and three at-large members from the community—Jeremy Burr, Rufus Getzen and Gloria Overcash.
Those wishing to donate to the animal shelter should send donations to: Anson County Animal Shelter; 101 S. Greene Street, Suite 205; Wadesboro, NC 28170.