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Plans for animal sanctuary include green touches

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
Faithful Friends President Anne Ingram said she cried when she first saw the artist’s rendering of the nonprofit group’s animal sanctuary on Grace Church Road.
“It was great just to see it and for it to be real after you obsess about it for two years,” she said. “We told Jon what we wanted and what we needed, and he got it. He got it just perfectly.”
The drawing includes animal paw prints on the outside of the building, which Ingram said was the idea of architect Jon Palmer’s wife, artist Cara Reische.
Ingram said she and Mary Ann Pool, who chairs Faithful Friends’ Building Committee, met for three hours Thursday afternoon with Palmer and engineers Mike and Fred Bowers and Randy Sturgill. “We went over the whole thing and what we want,” she said, “from the security system to where the computer goes to how high we need the electrical outlets so if the dogs hike their legs, we won’t have an accident.”
Palmer has software allowing him to see where the sun and shade is at any time of the day during any month of the year, Ingram said. “So he’s placed the building in such a way that the dogs get the winter sun and the summer shade and the cats get the morning sun,” she said. “That was so cool.”
Ingram said the animal sanctuary is being designed so the dogs and cats can live there contentedly until being adopted out. “When we turn out the lights and go home,” she said, “they will still be there.”
Faithful Friends has raised $341,000 so far for the 5,400-square-foot no-kill animal sanctuary ó estimated to cost between $350,000 and $400,000 ó and has received pledges for $25,000 more. “But we still need more,” Ingram said.
The nonprofit also needs to raise an estimated $160,000 to $180,000 for the first year of operating expenses, including the salaries of the director, veterinary technician and dog trainer.
David Mitchell donated 10.1 acres of land for the animal sanctuary in memory of his late wife, Connie Mitchell Clark, and Faithful Friends bought an adjacent .65 acre from him. The animal sanctuary will be called the Connie Mitchell Clark Building.
Plans call for the animal sanctuary to be environmentally friendly. Instead of traditional wooden walls, Ingram said, the sanctuary will be constructed of W.A. Brown’s energy-efficient Siptex insulated panels, also called SIPS.
Not only are the panels stronger than regular wood, she said they’re 2.5 times more soundproof than a hearing booth. “That is going to cut down on a lot of noise in the sanctuary.”
Ingram said they’re also looking at installing an oxygenated water cleaning system to kill bacteria to prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases such as parvovirus. “That way, you don’t have to use harmful chemicals,” she said. “It’s the way of the future.
“We’re here in Salisbury with the Center for the Environment at Catawba, and we’re hopefully building something that is going to last.”
The sanctuary will feature an intake room for animals when they first come in featuring a separate ventilation system to prevent the spread of disease. Ingram said plans also call for separate quarantine and isolation rooms for dogs and cats; separate food preparation and examination rooms for dogs and cats; a communal cat room with a sun porch; a utility room with a washer and dryer; and a multipurpose room for board meetings, volunteer orientation and space for retail items such as T-shirts, hats and coffee mugs.
Ingram said the sanctuary will house up to 50 cats and depending on their size, between 34 and 50 dogs.
Cats will be allowed to roam free in the communal cat room during the day, but will be placed in cages at night. Dogs will be housed in kennels, but staff and volunteers will take them to an adjacent dog park for exercise.
Because a drive-in theater used to be located on the property, Ingram said there are already roads in place. “And the four-wheelers in the area have been using them and keeping them open,” she said.
Faithful Friends is planning a memorial garden to which people can donate in memory of their deceased pets. Ingram said the organization is also considering a pet cemetery on down the road as a way of generating revenue.
Ingram said Faithful Friends hopes to use volunteers to help with the construction as much as possible. “Mary Ann Pool has a list of over 100 people who have volunteered their help and expertise,” she said.
Though they still have to hire a general contractor, Ingram said Faithful Friends hopes to start construction on the animal sanctuary by early fall. “I would like to see it open by the first of the year.”
Ingram said she and the other Faithful Friends volunteers are grateful to the people of Rowan County for supporting the animal shelter. “This is one of the worst times in the world to try to do something with this economy,” she said, “but yet we’re still getting a lot of donations coming in and a lot of people offering to help as volunteers.”
For more information on Faithful Friends, call 704-633-1722 or log on to its Web site at www.faithfulfriendsnc.org. Anyone interested in donating building supplies for the animal sanctuary or helping with the construction can contact Mary Ann Pool at clar451@live.com or Anne Ingram at 704-433-8169.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.

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