Limestone animal shelter reopens after sickness closure

ATHENS, Ala.- Limestone County's animal shelter is now back open after it dealt with widespread sickness in cats and dogs before Christmas.

Several of them died. Shelter workers are trying to raise money to expand so this doesn't happen again.

These excited puppies are the newest guests at the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter.

"They're seven weeks old. We think they're a lab, border collie mix," shelter director Priscilla Blenkinsopp said.

The shelter is busy as ever, two months after devastating sickness shut the center down before Christmas.

"We lost around 40 dogs," Blenkinsopp said.

Priscilla says right now, the shelter doesn't have enough quarantine space for the new cats and dogs brought in. What happened in December is a painful reminder of that. Volunteers are now raising money to try and renovate the current shelter, or build a new one with more space for the cats and dogs.

"I've been trying to assist Dr. Pitman to find two acres that'd be close by, where they could quarantine, or they could split up animals that are owner surrenders or animals that are picked up as strays," Limestone County commissioner Jason Black said.

Commissioner Black says finding available land will be a challenge. Right now, Limestone County budgets $342,860 to the shelter.

"Dr. Pitman takes that money, combines it with the amount the city of Athens gives him," Black said. "And then he runs the city of Athens and Limestone County, he's our county veterinarian."

A veterinarian with a shelter that's overgrowing its space. Blenkinsopp says they're hoping to raise at least $150,000.

This weekend, volunteers are gathering to talk about fundraising. The meeting will happen Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at 306 BBQ in Athens.

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