The new facility also will include an office where veterinarians can spay and neuter animals. Currently, the shelter contracts with a veterinary clinic in Barboursville and transports animals there.
"With the new facility, we'll be able to have them come down, probably once a month, and do sterilizations at our facility," Davis said.
He said he hopes the extra space -- combined with state laws and the county's efforts to sterilize animals that come through the shelter -- will decrease the number of animals killed.
"We don't have a set time like a lot of shelters; as long as the animal is healthy and isn't aggressive, we try to make every effort to find it a home," Davis said. "When we do euthanize, we base it on whether an animal is aggressive -- we don't want to put a dangerous animal back into the community -- or if an animal is extremely sick, or if we're just out of room, then we do have to look at euthanasia."
According to state law, a person adopting an animal from a shelter in West Virginia that has not been spayed or neutered has 60 days to have the procedure completed. There is a $50 deposit at the time of adoption, which is returned once the shelter has received proof of the surgery, and the shelter will cover the cost of the surgery if the animal is taken to the veterinarian it has contracted.
"With the spay and neuter programs, we are seeing fewer animals come through the shelter than in previous years, so we're starting to see the effect from that," he said. "A lot of our problem right now is just the small capacity that we're working with."
Silling Associates Inc., an architectural and planning firm in Charleston, designed the new shelter. The land the shelter sits on was donated by the state, and the Putnam County Commission approved a $2.3 million construction plan for the facility in February 2012.
The existing shelter will likely be torn down, according to Davis, but old shelter or new, anyone interested in adopting a dog or cat from the Putnam County animal shelter can call 304-586-0249 or visit www.petfinder.com/shelters/WV96.html.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.