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Opening of new animal shelter delayed
Hiring, training of staff up next
Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt recently led a tour of the new Forsyth County Animal Shelter. - photo by FCN file photo

NORTH FORSYTH — The opening of Forsyth County’s new animal shelter has been pushed back from Friday to Aug. 22.

“If we decide that we need to move that [date] … we’ll make that decision probably at least a week before the new ribbon cutting date,” said Tim Merritt, deputy county manager.

Construction of the shelter, which is on County Way off Ga. 400 in north Forsyth, has been running slightly behind. Work began in March 2013 and final inspections took place last week.

The facility, whose construction was funded by the voter-approved 1-cent sales tax, will replace the county’s current shelter on Old Atlanta Road.

That shelter is operated in partnership with veterinarian Lanier Orr from Orr Animal Hospital.

Jodi Gardner, director of communications for the county, said additional staff members still need to be hired and trained before the new shelter can open.

“Currently, the county contracts out shelter operations,” Gardner said. “When we open this new shelter, it’s going to be operated by county staff, so essentially it’s a new department for the county.”

“It’s going to take some time to get that staff hired and up and running.”

The shelter will feature nine staff members. Chris Peninger came on board earlier this year as the shelter manager.

Next week, the building will be stocked with shelter necessities such as pet food, Merritt said.

Animals will continue to be housed at the shelter on Old Atlanta Road until the new building is complete.

They will then move in with help from the Humane Societies of Forsyth and Dawson counties and Forsyth County Animal Control.

The shelter will be able to house 100 to 200 cats and dogs, which will be available for the public to adopt, at a time.

All incoming animals will receive several vaccinations on site, and a veterinarian will be available to care for them.