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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

These new digs are cat's meow, pooch paradise

BY MEREDITH HEAGNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

But luckily for her, she did.

This morning, the Toledo Animal Shelter Association will dedicate its new facility, a $500,000 building paid for with private donations. After a brief ceremony including a speech and flag presentation from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), attendees will be offered a tour of the shelter.

"The whole atmosphere is a lot better," assistant manager Vicki Thacker said. "It's more homey and more modern."

The dedication will take place in front of the building on Wyman Road in South Toledo. It was built where the previous shelter stood for the past 75 years, but at 3,600 square feet, it doubles the size of its predecessor.

"The old building just wasn't functional for what we wanted to do," manager Wanda Curtis said.

What they want to do is save every homeless dog or cat they possibly can. The shelter advertises itself as "no-kill," meaning they will house an animal until it is adopted.

"Our mission is to keep the animals as long as necessary until they find a home," said Byron Stickles, president of the board of directors. "We're not going to put down an animal after three or four days."

For Lindsay Noonan, the Monroe resident who brought in Sadie, that's good news.

"I know she'll get adopted and she won't be put down," Ms. Noonan said.

She had tried to give the dog to three other shelters, but none had room.

"We're so glad we have someplace to bring her," said Ms. Noonan's mother Betty.

Sadie is being kept in the adult dog room, which is large enough for 28 animals and features flap doors to the outside play areas. The facility has enough space to separate cats and dogs, old and young, and sick from healthy animals.

"Sick animals being put with healthy animals really created a big problem for us [in the former shelter]," said Mr. Stickles.

Unhealthy animals in the old building often had to be isolated, which meant living in the same room as the hot water tank and furnace. Today they have their own space to recover or live out their last days peacefully. For sick dogs and cats with no chance of survival and those in great pain, euthanasia will be a last resort.

All cats and dogs at the shelter are examined by a veterinarian, receive all their shots and necessary medication, and are spayed or neutered. All this and the salary of the two full-time employees is paid for by private donations.

"[The animals] touch the hearts of many people," said Mr. Stickles. He gestured to a cage holding a mother cat and five newborn kittens, rescued yesterday after being dropped on a porch in Perrysburg.

"They're beautiful," he said. "They'll find homes soon."

At least for now, it looks like they already have.

Contact Meredith Heagney at:

mheagney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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