Animal shelter marks one year since fire

Photos by Dean Manning

By Dean Manning

Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter staff members came together Saturday, Dec. 3, to remember the past and celebrate the future.

Saturday marked one year since shelter facility in Woodbine was destroyed by fire. The staff and members of the shelter board of directors met at the building on Busy Lane on which renovations continue to turn it into the shelter’s new home.

“This has been a very hard year and we could not be here if it was not for the staff, the love and commitment we got to our community and the animals,” said Shelter Director Deanna Myers. “And, no matter how hard it was, for our volunteers either, because we would be nothing without them.”

Father John Burkhart came for the ceremony and asked for God’s blessing on the shelter and the individuals who make the shelter work.

Myers said the goal is to have the new facility open by the end of January.

The shelter is currently hosting a “block party,” to acquire the 27,000 cinderblocks needed to construct the 54 dog kennels that will serve as the heart of the new facility.

Myers said Monday that about 4,000 blocks have been donated.

“A lot of people are making the donations in memory of their animals,” Myers said, noting eight individuals/groups have donated the $625 necessary to purchase the 500 blocks needed for a kennel.

A plaque will be placed on a kennel marking such donation.

“One of our kennels will be named ‘Friends of Frankie,’” Myers said, explaining the 500 blocks were donated in memory of Dr. Elizabeth Uberlhor’s, the staff veterinarian at the Lexington Humane Society, dog.

Mary-Ann Smyth, president of the animal shelter, said the shelter has an agreement with Pennington Block in Corbin to purchase the blocks at a discount price of $1.25 each.

Donations may be made in multiple ways. Smyth said the donation accounts at Forcht Bank and Hometown Bank of Corbin are still open. In addition, the shelter has a Paypal account that may be accessed through the shelter website

Donations may also be mailed to the shelter at P.O. Box 417, Corbin, KY, 40702.

Finally the donations may be dropped off at Smyth’s law office at 222 East Peachtree Street in Corbin (behind Pickard Chrysler), or mailed to the law office at P.O. Box 425, Corbin, KY, 40702.

Donations are tax deductible.

The kennel area is the last major hurdle for the building.

Myers said the area will include a separate room for puppies and cats, along with a, “meet and greet,” room where prospective adopters may meet with animals in which they are interested outside of the kennels.

In addition, the facility will have a quarantine area in which to keep new arrivals to ensure disease is not spread.

Myers estimated that the new facility would provide space for 150 animals, compared to the approximately 75 animals that could be housed at the old building.

“We will be able to save more lives,” Myers said, noting that while the shelter won’t be labeled, “no kill,” the number of animals adopted or going to rescue has increased exponentially.

In addition to the building, Myers said previously that the property has 2-and-a-half acres of open space that may be used for additions.

Part of that property will be used to create an area for the animals to be exercised and socialized in an effort to make them more adoptable.

The former shelter facility on Ky. 6 in Woodbine was destroyed by fire on Nov. 29, 2013.

Several cats, along with, “Sassy,” the resident shelter dog, were killed in the fire

For several weeks afterwards, the shelter operated out of temporary facilities at the old shelter site.

On Dec. 17, shelter officials moved to the temporary location on 5th Street Road. The former A&J Lawn Mower repair building was offered at a reduced rental rate by owner Ralph Rogers.

Shelter officials purchased the new building from Doug and Jackie Sizemore for $250,000. It formerly housed a coal mine site reclamation business.