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Published: Sunday, 2/24/2008

Home auction benefits animal shelter

You can't always take it with you.

So with many of the Toledo Animal Shelter's most ardent volunteers now sailing into their golden years, the 81-year-old rescue and adoption facility has been receiving a few rather unique, yet valuable donations: houses.

For the second year in a row, a longtime supporter has donated his or her own home to help pay expenses to run the shelter, which exceed $200,000 a year, said Jack Fynes, the shelter's board president.

"We're just overwhelmed by the generosity," he said.

Yesterday morning the shelter put its newest acquisition up for absolute auction. The one-story, three-bedroom residence at 2510 Airline Ave. in South Toledo belonged to an elderly couple who served on the shelter's auxiliary board.

Mr. Fynes declined to name the couple, but said they now live in a retirement home.

Last year a longtime supporter of the shelter donated her Albon Road home to the shelter. The amount raised by that auction was unavailable.

The auction yesterday drew 10 bidders, and began shortly after 11 a.m. in the home's living room. Bidding started off at $25,000, and quickly rose to $30,000 and then $35,000.

"I tell you, someone is going to get a heck of a bargain when he says 'Sold,' and it's done," said Jack Amlin of Danberry Co. Realtors.

From $40,000 the bidding lurched forward for nearly five minutes before Casandra Shaffer gave what became the winning bid: $48,000. Including the 10 percent buyer's premium, she altogether will pay $52,800 for the 50-year-old structure.

"This really is a nice little house," said Ms. Shaffer, who plans to make the home an additional Toledo rental unit through her husband and son's company, J&R Rentals. "Two-thirds of the value of the home is a really good price."

Ms. Shaffer said she was delighted to know all proceeds from the auction go to the 60-animal dog and cat shelter. However, she acknowledged that the reason she came out was to take advantage of an absolute auction, in which a house is sold to the highest bidder, regardless of the bid amount.

Mr. Fynes said he was pleased with the auction amount.

Still, auctioneer Tom Salsberry, said that houses like 2510 Airline Ave. have traditionally bid for 8 to 10 percent higher in Toledo.

"I've been in the real estate business for 47 years, but I've never seen a market like this - when the interest [rate] is low but there's no interest in properties," Mr. Salsberry said.

- JC Reindl

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