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County hires animal shelter manager
Facility scheduled to open in summer
Chris Peninger Animal Shelter Manager

CUMMING — Forsyth County has found a manager to lead its new animal shelter, which is set to open this summer.

On Tuesday, the county announced the addition of Chris Peninger, who has more than 20 years of training and experience in animal shelters, community outreach and administration.

According to a news release from the county, Peninger previously worked with the York County, S.C., Animal Control Division and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., Police Department Animal Care and Control Division.

In her new post, Peninger will supervise, coordinate and manage the daily activities of the shelter personnel, enforcing the various codes and ordinances.

She also will be responsible for the oversight of animal care, upkeep of the facility, the animal adoption process and the shelter’s community outreach programs.

In a statement, Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt welcomed Peninger.

“Her experience and skills will be a great asset to the county as we prepare for and open our new animal shelter,” he said.

The county broke ground on the shelter, which will be on County Way in north Forsyth, a year ago. Heavy rains last year slowed progress on the facility.

Construction of the 13,700-square-foot shelter is being funded by 1-cent sales tax revenue. When opened, the shelter will replace the existing setup, in which the county contracts out shelter operations.

The hiring of Peninger ends a months-long search that as recently as December appeared to have stalled.

That month, the committee tasked with making recommendations for the shelter expressed concern that the county hadn't received the type of applicants sought for the job.

The manager position was first posted in late summer with a closing date of Sept. 8. However, after conducting some interviews, no job offers were made, according to minutes from previous committee meetings.

Merritt said at the time that the position was then changed to "at will," which gave the county manager more discretion. That modification removed the civil service protection from the job, but increased the potential salary range.

The job posting stated the salary could be between about $43,600 and $64,200, depending on experience.