Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 4, 2013

AARF eyes no-kill shelter

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — Boyd County officials are working with the Ashland Area Rescue Fund to find a location for a no-kill shelter.

The non-profit would pay for the construction and operating cost but are working with Boyd County Fiscal Court officials to find a suitable location.

AARF representatives want to lease property from Boyd County to build the shelter and are interested in land near the Boyd County Dog Park.  

Fiscal court members made no decision on Tuesday but formed a committee to work with AARF to find a site. Paul Helton, director of Boyd County Animal Shelter, and commissioners Carl Tolliver and David Salisbury were appointed to the committee by Judge-Executive William “Bud” Stevens.

AARF is a private organization that “strives to reduce the number of euthanized companion pets in the local dog pounds by networking them to no-kill, animal rescues and sanctuaries or adopt them locally.”

AARF rescues animals from the Tri-State region and partners with other organizations across the country to relocate animals.

Cathy Queen, fundraising chair and AARF board member, said AARF is excited about the prospect of partnering with the county. Being able to lease property to build would serve a dual purpose, she said.

“To try to purchase the property, it is difficult to find, No. 1, but it is good to get your county involved too when you have something of this nature to share with the community,” said Queen.

AARF frequently pulls animals from Boyd County’s Animal Shelter in order to save them from possible euthanasia. Helton said the shelter euthanizes about 5 to 6 percent of animals that end up there. In the last five years, he said, the shelter has averaged placing more than 900 pets each year.

County Attorney Philip Hedrick advised that the county is within its legal “privilege” to lease property to AARF. Salisbury pointed out any structure built on county-owned property would be a county-owned facility when the lease agreement ceases.

AARF board member Krista All said the organization envisions building a “state-of-the-art” facility that would house dogs and cats. The proposal is to build approximately 40 large inside and outside dog runs in addition to rooms for puppies, cats, quarantine, grooming, veterinarian care, offices, lobby, storage and another outside play area.

A private donor is expected to foot the bill for construction and the shelter would be run using fundraising dollars. AARF also has partnerships with area businesses who support the project.

Queen said AARF also recently secured its charitable gaming license to hold large scale raffles including bingo, which will support the operating costs. In addition, AARF is working to secure grant funding from a variety of sources.

According to All, the organization has successfully saved more than 5,000 animals since it was founded in 2009. According to All and Queen, after the shelter is built, AARF will work on implementing a low to no cost spay and neuter and vaccination program.

County officials say they believe the new shelter will ultimately help lower costs at Boyd County’s animal shelter, by helping to further drive down the number of unwanted pets that end up there.

Salisbury said it is his hope if the shelter is built near the dog park, additional improvements to that facility could be added by county officials, including public restrooms.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at