Groups pool resources, efforts for new animal shelter

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 Mayor Jason Reeves shares an outline of the new cooperative plan that will help create a new animal shelter for Pike County. Messenger photo/ Mona Moore

Mayor Jason Reeves shares an outline of the new cooperative plan that will help create a new animal shelter for Pike County.
Messenger photo/Mona Moore

Pike County animal lovers have come together for a common cause: a new animal shelter. The City of Troy joined the City of Brundidge, Pike County commissioners, the Humane Society and the Troy Animal Shelter Coalition in the efforts.
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves announced the collaboration during a press conference Wednesday.
“The main thing we want to accomplish is to find more homes for animals. The only way for this to be successful is for all of us to come together,” Reeves said. “Now that we’re together, we feel that it’s going to grow and grow and grow.”
The shelter will be built at 800 Henderson Highway in Troy and will include a dog park. The group has consulted with an architect but the plans have not been finalized.
Chris Schubert, a member of the Troy Animal Shelter Coalition, said the facility would also serve as a clean, inviting place for people to visit and adopt a pet.
Reeves said after the press conference that land in Brundidge will be used for large animals.
“The Humane Society has a plot of land that is an ideal location for a large animal rescue facility,” he said.
The Troy facility will serve the cat and dog population and will be overseen by a seven-person board comprised of representatives of each stakeholder and two additional people those five will appoint.
Volunteers will run the daily operation, relieving animal control officers of their current shelter operation duties. They will have more time for enforcement.
Each party will pool resources to help in the costs of building the new facility. The individual groups will continue to offer the services and projects they always have. For the Humane Society, Debbie Lloyd said the list included $50 discounts to Pike County residents for spaying and neutering pets; a feral cat program that involves capturing the animals to spay or neuter them and then releasing them; and financial assistance for families with pets who find themselves unable to afford the continued care.
“This is such a proud, proud day. We’ve all added something to it,” Lloyd said.
Reeves said, counting donated property, the Pike County Animal Shelter has in excess of $300,000 currently available for construction.
“As you can tell, that’s a very good start,” he added.
Pike Animal Shelter volunteer Donna Shubert said the task of building and operating the facility had just begun.
“Operating an effective and efficient shelter will require ongoing community funding and the help of many volunteers,” she said. “We believe that, just as citizens of Troy and Pike County have responded to the call for building funds, the community will enthusiastically support the operation of the new shelter financially and through sweat equity.”
People present for the press conference promised there would be plenty of events and opportunities for the community to participate and contribute to the cause.
Up to this point, the funds raised for the project have come in mostly small donations, according to Edward Stevens, who has been an active volunteer and fundraiser in the animal shelter project.
“I think the fact that we had so many small donations is an indication of the community support,” he said.
The county and the City of Troy already allocate a portion of their budgets to local animal rescue organizations.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Reeves said the group started meeting a few months ago. Stakeholders in the project credited Reeves with bringing the groups together.
“I want to thank the mayor for stepping up to the plate so we can get this animal shelter built,” said Commissioner Homer Wright.
He said the county’s resources had not kept up with the community’s demand and they often had to turn people away when they called the county for help rounding up strays.
“One thing this is going to do that’s important to me is it’s going to reduce the suffering of homeless animals, which they all deserve,” Stevens said. “We’re just thrilled to be turning this corner today.”

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