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The Duplin County Animal Shelter is getting a much-needed upgrade

The Duplin County Board of Commissioners approved a $2.7 million new facility that would expand its capacity four times.
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:54 PM EST
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KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - There’s good news for animal lovers in Duplin County.

The Duplin County Animal Shelter, currently a building over 70-years-old, is moving to a much larger space to meet its demands.

The Duplin County Board of Commissioners approved a new $2.7 million new building to move across the street and expand its capacity nearly four times.

It includes some much-needed upgrades to the shelter, which stopped euthanizing animals years ago.

“In the new shelter, we’re actually going to have indoor-outdoor kennels so the dogs will be able to go outside and come back in as they please,” said Shelter Director Joe Newburn.

The new shelter will more than triple in size to 7,150 square feet and house more than 80 animals. That’s a major increase from the current building’s 2,700 square feet holding about 30 cats and dogs.

“We can fill this building up in two days, easy. So, we stay at capacity,” said Newburn. “We hold them for five days, which puts a strain on my officers out on the road when they can’t bring in more animals because the shelter’s full.

“We’ll have new air handlers put in in the new building where our isolated animals won’t be breathing the same air as our animals that are healthy,” said Newburn.

The facility will also include updated vet spaces, soundproof walls for skittish rescues, and improved lobby spaces for pick-ups and drop-offs.

The new building should help promote adoptions, said County Manager Davis Brinson. A much-needed boost for the shelter that hasn’t been able to keep up with the growing county demand.

“The current space for our shelter is inadequate and this will allow us to take in many more animals and care for them,” said Brinson. “It will also provide us with more adequate space and a more inviting space for potential adopters to come in and take some of these animals and give them a home.”

The new building should also relieve the strain for Newburn’s officers.

”We’re not wanting to bring in more animals,” said Newburn. “But, the call for service is out there and to help the citizens out, we need a larger area to get that job done.”

The old building will stay-put, but will be converted to a different use not yet determined by the county.

The project is partially funded by non-profit donors but is largely funded by loans from multiple agencies and the county’s capital reserve fund.

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