Reason to paws

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pike County Animal Shelter Board member Andy Murphree has always loved animals.

But, this month, that love has spilled over — into an acre.

Murphree surprised the Troy-Pike Animal Shelter Coalition this month with an additional acre of land to add to its future shelter location on Henderson Highway.

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It was something that came as a welcomed surprise to founder Donna Schubert.

“It was an absolute, complete and total surprise,” Schubert said. “It just completely blew us away.”

Schubert didn’t know the land had been purchased until she saw it on the land deeds.

“We found out about that land transfer because it’s public record. Then I had to call Andy,” Schubert said. “When I found out about it he said, ‘You told me you wanted a dog park,’ and I just cried. That level of compassion is amazing to see.”

But for Murphree, it’s something that just comes natural.

“I’ve always had dogs and cats all my life. I’ve always just really liked them,” Murphree said.

“I’ve been handicapped all my life and walked on crutches. The thing I like about animals is they don’t really care what you look like or how much money you have. If you are good to them, they’ll be good to you.”

The one-acre donation, adjacent to the property already donated by the Walt Stell family, will give the shelter more space and leave room to build a dog park.

“What we will do is we will be building in addition to the shelter facility, we will have a companion/animal park,” Schubert said.

“We will have a little off-leash area they can run around in.”

Schubert said the plan to have a park has always been part of the group’s plans, but the donation will give additional space.

“We would have had a very mini park,” Schubert said.

Not only will this gift increase the size of the park, it will also allow for a bigger shelter building.

“One of the things with just having one acre is we would probably have built a slender building. With this, we will be able to broaden that,” Schubert said.

It was with those exact goals in mind that Murphree made his contribution.

“Donna had mentioned to me she would like to have a dog park where people could come and bring their animals and walk around and play,” Schubert said.

“I just thought it’d be a good idea to have that dog park right next to the shelter. It also gives us more room to have a shelter.”

Schubert said the original acre donated was appraised at $70,000.

It is likely the land donated by Murphree was a comparable amount.

Now with the total two-acres, Schubert said the shelter only waits final funding.

“We are absolutely on go when funding is available,” Schubert said.