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Salisbury man donates land for no-kill shelter

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
A Salisbury man has donated 10.1 acres of land for the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary in memory of his late wife.
The property, located on Grace Church Road about a quarter of a mile from U.S. 29, will be the site of the no-kill animal shelter, according to Anne Ingram, president of the nonprofit animal rescue group. The shelter and adoption center will be named The Connie Mitchell Clark Building.
Ingram said Connie and David Clark had talked with Faithful Friends volunteers about donating the land just a few weeks before she died Jan. 17, 2008. After his wife’s unexpected death, Ingram said, David Clark made the decision to go ahead with the donation in her memory.
“She loved animals, especially dogs,” Ingram said.
“We’re just overwhelmed by David Clark’s generosity,” she said, “overwhelmed by how much he loved his wife and wanted to do this in her memory and overwhelmed that he cares enough about animals to make this kind of donation. It just opens up all kinds of opportunities for Faithful Friends.”
Ingram said the land is more than Faithful Friends could have ever hoped for. “It will allow us to make the most of the space,” she said.
Some of the additional features being considered are playing fields for dogs, trails for walking dogs, a memorial garden and a pet cemetery.
Rodney Cress, a member of Faithful Friends’ board of advisers and Land Committee, was instrumental in securing the donation, Ingram said. Others who played key roles in the transaction, she said, were attorney Tom Caddell, Land Committee Chairman Bob Bailey and surveyor Mel Thompson.
Faithful Friends volunteers have raised $250,000 over the past 13 months to go toward the no-kill shelter, including a $100,000 contribution by Nancy and Bill Stanback.
“The community support has been tremendous,” Ingram said.
Though the total cost is estimated at $500,000, she said, “We won’t wait on that to begin building.”
Once plans are complete, the group will launch a capital campaign to raise the remaining costs.
Ingram was in Eagle, Colo., last week to tour a no-kill shelter similar to the one being planned by Faithful Friends. She said initial plans call for a 5,000-square-foot shelter and adoption center.
Ingram said Faithful Friends hopes volunteers will step forward to help with the construction or donate supplies when the time comes.
“We would love to start building the first of the year,” she said. “I think we’ll be ready then, and I hope we can begin operations next year.”
In the meantime, fundraising events continue on behalf of Faithful Friends.
Outback Steakhouse is sponsoring another fundraiser luncheon Oct. 4, and the second annual Paws in the Park walk is coming up Saturday at the Salisbury Greenway.
Co-sponsored by Rowan Surge and the LandTrust for Central North Carolina, half the proceeds of the walk will go to Faithful Friends and half to the LandTrust.
In 2007, its first year, Paws in the Park raised $5,000, and organizers hope to double that amount this year.
This year’s Paws in the Park will feature a new attraction ó a Dog Olympics put on by Lazy 5 Ranch Veterinary Services. Events will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will include Little Doggy Limbo for dogs who weigh less than 50 pounds, Big Dog Limbo for dogs over 50 pounds, Doggy Musical Sit, a Dog/Owner Look-alike Contest and Silly Pet Tricks.
The Paws in the Park Dog Olympics and walk will be held rain or shine. For more information, log on to www.salisburypawsinthepark.com.
For more information on Faithful Friends, log on to www.faithfulfriendsnc.org. Anyone interested in donating building supplies for the no-kill shelter or helping with the construction can contact Mary Ann Pool at clar451@live.com or Anne Ingram at 704-433-8169.

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