by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
---- — WINAMAC — Pulaski County is closer to getting a facility to take in stray animals and reunite them with their owners or help them find new homes.
Jamie Keller, a member of the board of directors for the Pulaski Animal Center, said an agreement is being worked out for the facility to set up shop at the former Hopkins Auto Sales building at 13 E. Indian Hills Road in Winamac. She said they are hoping to move into the building this spring or summer.
The roughly 3,000-square-foot building won't need a lot of renovating, but rather cleaning and organizing, Keller said. It has three main rooms — one that will be used to house cats, one for dogs and one that will serve as a quarantine room. The total number of animals the center will be able to accommodate ultimately depends on the funding it receives for kennels and food.
Keller said the center will be assisting prospective pet owners with adoptions as well.
"We'll be giving hope and chances to our county's animals that they really didn't have before," Keller said.
The center will start out taking in cats and dogs but could eventually branch out to shelter animals prevalent in the county's agricultural environment.
"Right now, we have to start off small," Keller said. "We have to build into it."
There currently isn't an animal shelter in Pulaski County. Rescued cats and dogs generally end up at facilities in neighboring Starke County or the boarding kennel on Pulaski County Animal Control Officer Sarah Thompson's property.
The boarding kennel has five rooms, each able to hold two to three animals. She also has free-standing cages and a bank of cages for cats.
When Thompson takes in stray cats and dogs, she takes pictures of them and posts them on the Pulaski County Animal Control's Facebook Page. If three days go by without being claimed, they are vaccinated and made available for adoption.
Thompson said she feels the new animal center will be an asset for the community.
"I think it's going to dramatically improve things," Thompson said, adding those who lose their pets will no longer have to go up to Starke County to look for them.
It will provide room for more strays than she is able to accommodate, she continued.
"My building was set up as a boarding center, not a shelter," she said. "It will definitely improve the quality of life for stray animals and hopefully diminish the population of feral and stray animals."
The Pulaski Animal Center, which was funded with a start-up fund through the Pulaski County Community Foundation, will be having a "great crafts sale" April 26 at its new location. All sales will go toward continuing to fund the shelter.
Those interested in donating to the center can do so by accessing pulaskionline.org, clicking "Community Foundation" at the top of the page and clicking "Donate." Contributors are asked to enter "Pulaski County Animal Shelter" in the memo line of their donation. Checks with the center's name written in the memo line can also be mailed to the foundation at 127 E. Pearl St., Winamac IN 46996.
Those interested in keeping up with developments at the Pulaski Animal Center can do so by liking its Facebook page.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him: @PharosMAK