Shelter has big dreams

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(This story by Zack Steen originally appeared in the Daily Corinthian and appears here with permission.)

“Our community deserves a new animal shelter,” said Charlotte Doehner.

The Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter volunteer director has big dreams and she’s ready to make them a reality.

Doehner and the shelter’s board of directors has teamed up with CREATE Foundation to raise the needed $1 million to break ground on a new state-of-the-art animal shelter within three years.

With new building plans and designs ready to be unveiled, the shelter will host “To Dream the Impossible Dream” gala on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Hillendale Country Club.

The $50 per person ticketed event will feature food catered by Smith Restaurant, craft beer, champagne and entertainment by rock and blues musician Kevin Thornton.

Architect Chuck Walker will be on hand to give an overview of the shelter’s new layout.

“The design is very contemporary. We’re only including the most important items to help us be successful and self-sustainable in the future. We will include all indoor animal cages, an overall increased capacity for housing both cats and dogs, a pet medical clinic and a large outdoor dog park. The entire shelter will be more user friendly and animal focused,” said Doehner. “We also have included ways to be more environmentally friendly to help cut costs everywhere we can.”

More than 300 animals are crammed into the current shelter location, which is a pre-Civil War, county owned building on Proper Street. Since occupying the location in 2011, shelter administrators have dealt with continued structural issues, including problems with flooring, roofing, heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing.

“We have patched it up all we can,” said Doehner.

A video offering a glimpse of where the shelter has been and where it hopes to go will be shown at the Thursday gala. Three-year capital building fund pledges will be also requested.

“The money isn’t going to the city or the county or into anyone’s pocket – every dollar donated will go back to the community and help build a new shelter the community will be proud of,” added Doehner.

Once $1 million is raised locally through public contributions, events and other donations, the remaining needed funds will come from grants. Doehner said the current plans call for a 22,000-square-foot facility including kennels with a cost of $2.5 million to build.

“The plans are drawn in phases, so we can complete different parts of the new building as money becomes available,” she said.

The shelter continues to search for a suitable three to five acres.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres served at the event will include popular Smith items like trashed wings, shrimp and grits, pork tenderloin sliders, smoked catfish, bruschetta, fresh fruit and cheese, bread pudding and Mississippi mud pie.

Business dress and cocktail attire is encouraged. Event sponsors include Gardner’s Supermarket, Roger’s Supermarket, OfficePRO, Smith, Love & a Dog, The Twisted Cork and Long Distribution.

(For more information or to purchase tickets, visit corinthalcornanimalshelter.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.)