Union County, N.C., to Build $742,500 Animal Shelter

Union County commissioners unanimously decided this week to build the new animal shelter next to the sheriff's office and jail just off U.S. 74.

Located to the right of the jail, the 7,500-square-foot climate-controlled shelter will replace the aging structure officials say is in disrepair and too small for the county's needs.

Commissioners voted in May to spend $742,500 on the new shelter, but they deferred choosing a site until they could review all their options.

County staffers presented four locations Monday -- two near the jail and two near the existing shelter off Goldmine Road in Wesley Chapel.

Staffers recommended the site to the right of the jail because it will be visible from the highway and have separate entrances for the public and service vehicles. Plus, sheriff's officials will run the shelter, so having it nearby makes more sense, said Pat Beekman, Union County homeland security director.

The site commissioners chose has room for expansion. But just in case, commissioner Stony Rushing suggested Beekman keep the old shelter for overflow.

Beekman said the old shelter was going to be used by the Public Works Department for storage, but he said he would look into Rushing's idea.

Staffers hope to complete the new shelter by September 2005.