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City evacuates animal shelter

091418NashCountyAnimalShelter

A pit bull-lab mix stands in a cage Wednesday at the Nash County Animal Shelter in Nashville. The dog was transferred from the Rocky Mount Animal Shelter due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Potential pets housed at the Rocky Mount Animal Shelter have been temporarily removed from the flood-prone facility.

With Hurricane Florence churning off the coast, city officials were concerned the shelter on North Church Street along the Tar River would flood again.

In mid-October 2016, about a dozen dogs and cats at the shelter were moved to Nash Central High School as floodwaters rose rapidly during Hurricane Matthew.

The city spent $160,000 to buy and renovate an old kennel. The refurbished facility, which opened in January 2016, can hold about 40 dogs and 30 cats. There were only a handful of dogs at the facility this week when they were moved to the Nash County Animal Shelter in Nashville.

The number of dogs and cats was significantly lower because officers stop picking up animals in the days before a major storm, interim Police Chief Willie Williams told the Telegram.

“We lighten up on strays to cut down on an accumulation,” Williams said, adding the animals have to be moved to the Nash County shelter during major storms due to the possibility of flooding.

The move is a precaution, said Tameka Kenan-Norman, the city's chief marketing and communications officer.

The Rocky Mount Police Department's Animal Services Unit had occupied a small building at the same general location since the late 1980s. The shuttering of the nearby Down East Kennel paved the way for an expansion.

The new facility included larger office space, storage, a kitchen area, laboratory, an outdoor overflow kennel, a fenced yard for potential adopters to play with dogs and a meet-and-greet room for families to play with animals inside.

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