New animal shelter dedicated

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Local woman's will leaves nearly $45,000 to shelter

By Calen McKinney

The cages were empty, with food and water bowls at the ready. Now, the shiny new cages are full of meows and barks.


Taylor County Animal Shelter dedicated its new building on Tuesday morning.

The building, paid for with a $150,000 grant, adds 22 puppy cages, 22 cat cages, a space to house kittens and an outside run of cages to help the shelter house stray animals from Taylor, Green, Casey, Russell and LaRue counties. Tuesday’s ceremony officially opened the building and also dedicated it in memory of the late Margaret Nelson, who lived in Campbellsville and died in October.

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers told a crowd of people gathered to dedicate the building that Nelson created a will in 2000 that donated money to several charities and causes, including the animal shelter.

“Margaret’s desire was to make sure that the animals in our area were taken care of,” he said.

Rogers said Nelson gave the shelter $44,939.83 in her will. And because of the donation, he said, he and Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris thought the building should be dedicated to her.

“This is the people that are dedicated to the animals of Taylor County,” Rogers told Nelson’s husband, Richard “Dick” Nelson, who attended Tuesday’s dedication.

The first cat housed at the new shelter was named Margaret, Rogers said, and will have a home there until she wants to leave. Mr. Nelson held the cat during the ceremony.

After the ceremony, Mr. Nelson said his wife had a cat for 19 years. When the two married, he said, his wife said she wanted to help elderly people and animals.

“She’d be so proud,” he said, with tears in his eyes.

The new building, which contains 4,400 square feet, is built just up the hill from the current shelter.

It has a reception area, an office, a kitchen and laundry area, rooms to house animals and inside and outside large animal cages.

The current shelter, which was built in 1986, offers 76 inside and 86 outside dog cages and an area with 19 cages to house cats.

The shelter provides a home to about 125 animals each day, Harris said last month, and the building is old and outdated and stays full constantly.

There have been two expansions since Harris came on board in 1999.

The shelter’s last expansion was completed in 2004 and added more than 60 cages to help with overcrowding.

After receiving the $150,000 grant, work began last May on the new shelter. Harris said there have been a few delays in the project, from coordinating construction schedules to working with local governmental workers to provide in-kind labor.

After the $150,000 grant was used, Harris said, the county, which provides funding for the shelter, has pitched in about $15,000 to cover the cost.

All animals ready for adoption will be housed in the new building. The shelter’s old building will house animals just coming to the shelter in a quarantine area for five to 10 days. Harris said this will help keep diseases from spreading.

Security cameras and an alarm system have been installed at the new building, Harris said, in an attempt to prevent vandalism. The shelter has in the past had vandals steal its computers and damage some of its equipment. Adoptions cost $100 and include a microchip, parvo and rabies shots, de-wormer, a basic exam, spay or neuter and 30 days of insurance.

For information about animals available for adoption, visit the shelter’s website at www.taylorcounty.us/county-government/animal-shelter.html.