09/26/06 — No word yet on location for shelter

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No word yet on location for shelter

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on September 26, 2006 1:55 PM

Wayne County officials have money budgeted for the construction of a new animal shelter.

They almost have a design ready for the building.

And now the county has a pledge of an additional $200,000 in private donations for the project.

That is, if they can come up with a location.

Although a design should be completed within the next two weeks, the location of a new shelter is still up in the air, Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said.

Wayne County officials had requested Goldsboro City Council rezone some of the county's land on the north side of Eighth Street between Humphrey Street and Wayne Memorial Drive.

During a public hearing on the issue last Monday, many business owners near the proposed shelter location opposed the rezoning request because they believed an animal shelter would decrease the value of their land and customers would be steered away by the smells and sounds of an animal shelter.

Although the City Council hasn't voted on the issue, Smith said he has already started looking at five other sites.

On Tuesday, lawyer Tommy Jarrett told county commissioners that he represents two anonymous clients willing give the county $200,000 for a new animal shelter, if certain criteria are met. Some of the stipulations include how animals will be euthanized, where the animals will be housed and that the shelter's policies help improve the county's animal adoption rate.

The Eighth Street site is a central and easily accessible location, which also is a stipulation for receiving the donation, Smith said. The site was already prepared for construction, which is an advantage over other county-owned land in and around Goldsboro, he added.

But Smith said he has discussed the issue with the county's planning and building and grounds departments, and the groups are considering locations owned by the county, the city of Goldsboro or other land that is jointly owned within three miles of Goldsboro.

Smith said he hopes a location will be available once the shelter's design plans are completed by architect Walter Vick in early October. Then, the county can receive bids to get a final price on the structure.

The $200,000 donation would greatly help the fundraising efforts for a new shelter, commissioners said Tuesday. When the commissioners approved $750,000 for a new shelter, it was on the condition that residents raise the rest of the construction costs, which could be an additional $250,000. As of late July, residents had only raised a little more than $16,500.

Many members of Concerned Citizens of Wayne County, an animal advocacy group, and the local chapter of the Humane Society said they would conduct a large fundraising effort if they received written assurances from the commissioners that policy changes would occur at a new facility. Many of the groups' requests were similar to the anonymous donors' stipulations.

Smith said assurances will come when residents see the procedures that will go into a new animal shelter at about the time construction begins in January. Until then, he said he doesn't want people to have any misconceptions about what the new animal shelter will be.

"It will be a nice facility. Everything that will be in place is going to reduce the noise. All of the cages will be stainless steel. You have to use products that can be sanitized. When you sanitize, you can reduce the smell," Smith said.

The shelter will also use a heating and air conditioning system that controls airborne contaminants and officials hope to include many other standards at the new shelter suggested by experts at North Carolina State University, Smith said.

As the shelter is being constructed, Smith said the county will hire an animal shelter manager who will handle the policies at the facility, including training shelter employees on providing sodium pentobarbital injections to animals, animal cruelty investigation and other shelter issues.

People who are interested in contributing to the project can send a check to Wayne County at P.O. Box 227, Goldsboro, N.C., 27533. On the subject line, specify that the donation, which is tax-deductible, is for the shelter fund.

Checks can also be sent to the local Humane Society chapter at P.O. Box 821, Goldsboro, N.C., 27533.