Groundbreaking set for no-kill animal shelter

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SNOW HILL — Staff and volunteers plan to break ground on a private no-kill animal shelter for Greene County and surrounding communities on March 1.

The Beare Garden Plantation Animal Rescue Center is scheduled to open in summer 2018 and will launch its operation by providing shelter to stray cats before expanding to serve dogs and other animals, the organization announced this week.

“The new Beare Garden Plantation Animal Rescue Center will be a significant accomplishment for our pet-loving community and will help to save lives, matching pets with pet parents,” Kathy Heath, the shelter’s president and co-founder, said in a news release.

Leaders describe the organization as a charitable fund of the Greenville-based Community Foundation of NC East, a partnership that allows the shelter to receive tax-deductible donations while it pursues 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit status.

“Completion of this new animal rescue is an important achievement in rural eastern North Carolina. It will seek to serve underserved communities including Greene, Pitt and surrounding communities,” Executive Director Christopher Carroll said in the release.

Beare Garden Plantation officials said about 6.5 million homeless pets enter animal shelters in the United States each year and nearly 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized “even though many are healthy, loving and adoptable.”

The new shelter will focus on finding “furever” homes for adoptable pets and educating the community about pet overpopulation and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Organizers said they’ll also work to make cats’ and dogs’ stay in the shelter as comfortable as possible.

“We plan to minimize cages, enhancing the wellness of those pets,” the news release states. “Animals in shelters suffer from depression and start to decline after a period as they don’t always get enough exercise and attention. By creating an open, safe environment filled with volunteers of all ages, they will be cared for and provided the attention needed.”

The shelter will open on a tract of the Beare Garden Plantation, established in the 1700s by Capt. John “Jack” Murprey, according to organizers.

State Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, is scheduled to speak at the ceremonial groundbreaking, which is planned for noon March 1 at 1164 U.S. 258 North, Snow Hill.

The Beare Garden Plantation Animal Rescue Center is accepting donations of equipment including bedding and cat towers and supporters can make cash contributions via PayPal on its website, www.bgpanimalrescue.com.