By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - Warren County commissioners committed Thursday to giving $1 million toward a $2.8 million expansion of the county's animal shelter.
"The sooner we can move in (the new space), the sooner we can stop killing all these animals," Executive Director Mari Lee Schwarzwalder said.
The Cook Road shelter, run by the Humane Association of Warren County, is more than doubling its space, to 20,650 square feet. The shelter received 6,500 dogs and cats in 2001, more than 4,400 of which had to be euthanized.
"You're going to get your $1 million," Commissioner Larry Crisenbery told her Thursday. But because of the economy and reductions in state funding, the county will dole it out over 15 years instead of the 10 that had been discussed.
"This is the only way we see getting it to you without pinching other departments," he said.
The county's contribution will bring the total raised in the Humane Association's yearlong fund-raising campaign to $2.4 million, Ms. Schwarzwalder said, although the 15-year payment means financing more of the construction costs up front.
She hopes to raise the last $400,000 by February so construction can begin in the spring.
Unlike most county animal shelters, Warren's is privately run, although the commissioners contribute $200,000 a year toward operating expenses and station their dog warden at the shelter.
The expansion will add a kitten showroom and more dog runs. Space also will be devoted to education and spay/neuter operations.
Upcoming fund-raisers include a country-western hoedown noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 17 at Camp Kern, in eastern Warren County. Admission is $10 for adults, and $5 for children 5 to 16. For tickets or information, call 200-2385. To contribute to the fund drive, call 925-2537.
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