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A purrfect gift

A Winston-Salem philanthropist has offered to build a $500,000 addition to the Rowan County Animal Shelter to house cats.
Christine Morykwas is offering to foot the bill for the proposed 2,358-square-foot addition. Commissioners will hear details at their meeting Monday.
Morykwas and her husband live in Winston-Salem and are active in the community there, including underwriting events for the Forsyth County Humane Society.
“It turns out she’s built a couple of animal shelters in California,” County Manager Gary Page said. “She saw the need here.”
Page said Morykwas has connections to local animal advocates. In mid-July, she met with county officials and animal advocate Barbara Hart to discuss the proposal.
The addition would be a cat wing connected by a foyer to the older part of the shelter, which would house only dogs.
In return for the gift, Morykwas wants the county to adopt written protocols for medical treatment, cleaning and a new spay-neuter program with a licensed veterinarian. The county would also be required to adequately staff and maintain the addition and operate it solely as part of the Animal Control program for 20 years.
Accepting the proposal would require the county to hire more additional employees for the shelter than the veterinary technic an it had planned to add this year, Page said, in addition to more overhead for utilities, insurance and supplies.
“So it’s a commitment on her part and a commitment on the county’s,” he said.
The county is already making changes at the shelter, dismantling the gas chamber that had been used for years to euthanize animals in favor of lethal injection.
Page said after commissioners hear the offer Monday, they could approve it Aug. 18. The new wing could be built by December.

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