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New Trimble/Henry animal shelter opens

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

The wait is over.

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Henry and Trimble counties now have a brand-new animal shelter, and local residents and government officials were on hand Saturday for its grand opening, hosted by Dan Flinkfelt, Henry’s animal control officer, and his Trimble counterpart, Susan Guzzardo of Pleasureville. Guzzardo, a former employee of Louisville Metro Animal Services, started her new job Monday, July 16.

With Guzzardo and Flinkfelt holding each end, the facility on Sulphur Road was officially opened as a bright-yellow ribbon was cut by Trimble Judge-Executive Randy Stevens, Henry County Magistrate Roger Hartlage and project manager Tony Walker.

The facility was a labor of love for Walker, who was hired by Trimble Fiscal Court as project manager. Using all local contractors, and relying on some donations of materials and labor, Walker brought the project in for about $183,000 ­ about $70,000 less than the amount set aside for the project by both counties.

The amount also is at least nearly $200,000 less than any of the bids received for the 2,100-square-foot cement-block building from general contractors in the region last year. Those bids ranged from $375,000 to $584,000.

Hartlage of Nationwide Fence in Eminence donated all the indoor and outdoor chain-link fencing for the kennels, along with the labor to install them ­– a total of about $20.000. The interior fencing is completed, and Hartlage said he expects the fencing for the exterior runs to be completed by the end of next week.

He said the donation was made “because we are committed to the animal services in the county, and to do whatever we can to make it better.”

Hartlage said he is pleased with the new facility. “The way I see it, in Eminence [the former shelter, leased from the Kentucky Humane Society] was as good as we could do. Now we have a higher-grade facility. There is so much room to expand the quality of services we’re going to provide.”

Hartlage is hoping to add a modular building on the site, where the two counties can provide low-cost spay/neuter clinics, which would help reduce the population of unwanted pets in the area. “If we do 100 animals, the long-term impact is monumental,” he said. “You’ve got to [tackle] the problem before it exists, instead of controlling it afterward.”

Flinkfelt said he and Guzzardo are planning to apply for grants to improve operations at the facility. Guzzardo is hoping to secure funding for a much-needed storage building, where they can keep donations of food and other items given to the shelter by area residents.

The shelter, which already has many adoptable dogs, from puppies to older adults, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The phone number for Henry County residents needing information or assistance remains the same – (502) 845-5080. In Trimble, the number is (502) 255-0111.