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Financial support for new animal shelter

Members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners were asked Tuesday to consider providing financial support to help establish a new animal shelter.

Proposed as a jointly run operation between the county and the newly formed River Country Humane Society, the potential facility is being eyed at the 12-acre location previously occupied by Finnerman’s Farm and Garden Equipment site on West Burr Oak Street in Centreville.

Loralee Knepper of Mendon and Three Rivers resident Laura Barley, proponents of the new facility, asked commissioners to consider the funding request. Knepper said beyond a holding and adoption center, the operation has other potential uses, including walking trails, obedience classes and grooming facilities.

Barley said the existing facility, adjacent to the sheriff’s department, is an old building with severe drainage and ventilation problems, traumatized animals are placed next to a firing range and there is no quiet place to spend time with a potential adopted dog.

She asked commissioners to choose an experienced commercial real estate broker to help guide through what needs to be done to determine the value and potential of the Finnerman property, which is listed at $519,000.