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April 2, 2014

A New Home

Corbin building permanent location for animal shelter

CORBIN — By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer

Work has begun to renovate a building that will serve as the permanent location for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.

The 10,000 square foot building on two-and-a-half acres of land is located along Busy Street in Corbin, according to Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Director Deanna Myers. It will replace the shelter’s former building, which was destroyed in a fierce blaze in November.

Since the fire, the shelter’s operations were moved to a temporary location.

The new building has a large, open room with concrete flooring for kennels along with many smaller rooms that will be used for everything from offices to a community room, Myers said.

It could take up to six months to complete repairs on the new building — including replacing its roof, painting wood panelling and stripping peeling wallpaper. Myers said the kennel room alone will need a new sewage system and a new Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system to comply with building standards for animal housing units.

However, the vast amount of space – more than five times that of the original building – has the potential to allow the shelter to come back stronger.

With the influx of animals the shelter sees – up to 80 per day during the breeding season, Myers said–bigger can only mean better. While the current temporary shelter can hold a maximum of 50 animals, the new building will have the capacity to hold up to 100 dogs and cats.

That’s not all. Myers was enthusiastic as she energetically went from room to room discussing the plans for the new building. These plans include a community room where educational seminars on topics like spaying and neutering could be held as well as meet-and-greet opportunities for potential adopters to get to know their new pet, a veterinary station, a staff kitchen, a room just for cats, a room just for puppies that includes larger cages for older puppies, and offices for the staff. Most of the land where the building is located is already fenced and can be used to walk dogs and to allow the animals to spend some time outside the shelter.

“This is what’s best for the animal and what’s best for the communities we serve,” Myers said.

The building costs $250,000 and $225,000 of that money came from insurance from the fire. The remaining $25,000 was raised by the community. It was owned by Doug and Jackie Sizemore with West Side Properties, who contacted the shelter and offered them the building stating it would make a good animal shelter. The animal shelter board of directors approved its purchase Feb. 28.

Although the building’s current tenant is still moving out of the building — a process that could take weeks — Myers said they have already begun adapting the building to its new purpose.

Once in the new building, Myers hopes to have concrete block kennels instead of the shelter’s current wire kennels. Having the animals separated by concrete reduces both disease and aggression, Myers said. She also hopes to one day expand some of the adoption services, like improved spaying and neutering, and hopes to have the capacity to better match pets to adopters. However, she said it would take several years before some of these goals could be reached.

The shelter is still accepting donations to help with the new building, and people wanting to donate can give both money and supplies. Myers said materials needed include paint and concrete blocks and they can be dropped off at the shelter’s temporary location on 5th Street. The shelter can be contacted for volunteering opportunities or donations at 526-6925.

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