Aiken Co. breaks ground on new animal shelter

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News 12 First at Five / Sunday, March 3, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Aiken County Animal Control is ready for construction to begin on its new animal shelter. Officials broke ground on the land Sunday afternoon.

The building will be almost twice as big as the current facility with more rooms and heating and air.

The main reason for bigger space is overcrowding. The shelter's goal will be to have more adoptable pets once they open the new doors.

Cary Perkins, an architect for the new $2 million animal shelter, says even though that's a big price tag, the money isn't being spent carelessly.

"We are spending that money really wisely. There's not a lot of excess in this building at all. There's not a lot of fluff. It's incredibly efficient," Perkins said.

Currently, some pets are housed together due to large numbers and limited space. Multiple dogs are placed in one kennel. Perkins says the new facility will be built to avoid that issue.

"We actually have roughly twice the number of animal spots," Perkins said.

However, that doesn't mean they want more dogs and cats. The extra space will create an inviting environment for potential new owners.

"If you see a calm dog that's relaxed, has room to walk around,
has room to go to the bathroom and take a nap, it's a happier dog.
It's a happier animal. So, it's more adoptable, it's a proven fact," Perkins said.

Bobby Arthurs, director of Animal Control for the county, says the extra space will not only help adoptions, it will also serve as a tool to preserve animal life.

"Last month alone there was 54 percent of animals euthanized," Arthurs said.

They'd like to get that percentage to zero.

However, Arthurs says it's almost impossible because some pets can't be saved.

"The very vicious, the uncontrollable," Arthurs said.

Every adoptable pet won't be put down and every effort will be made to get him or her a home. That facility should be open and ready to operate this time next year.

The funding was a combination of public and private funds, and all the money for the construction is ready.

However, they are still raising funds for equipment and materials. If, you can help, they encourage you to give to FOTAS, which is a nonprofit that helps the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Click here for more information.

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