HERMITAGE — Even as the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter Board of Directors works to raise funds for a new building, it still has to maintain the existing shelter.

With that in mind, the shelter's board of directors authorized shelter Manager Angelia Sherman to spend up to $2,500 on improvements to the shelter's outside kennels and insulate them for housing dogs, if needed, during the winter.

The shelter currently houses 15 dogs, including six dogs that have been there for more than six months, and 37 cats, said Duane Piccirilli, board president.

"Because one of our challenges is trying to keep operating costs as low as possible without affecting the quality of service, the staff is going to try to insulate existing outdoor runs to provide a safe environment at half the cost," Piccirilli said.

This comes as animal shelter officials seek funding for a new shelter, which is why officials are trying to balance the costs of a new building with expenses of maintaining the current shelter.

So far, shelter officials have raised $150,000 in a capital campaign for the new shelter. Piccirilli said the board is planning an event where local organizations can meet the animal shelter staff, see photos of the current shelter and designs for the proposed new building.

The board also authorized Sherman to get bids on replacing the shelter's furnace as well because it may need to be replaced before cold weather sets in.

"Right now as a board we are feeling the pressure of the need of the new shelter as soon as possible," he said.

The new shelter would be built on a piece of land along Lynnwood Drive and Hoezle Road in Hermitage. The Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio donated the property for the new shelter.

Shenango Valley Animal Shelter's current building is nearby, at 2599 Broadway Road in Hermitage.

The board is comprised of representatives from the shelter's participating communities — Farrell, Hermitage, Sharon, Sharpsville, Shenango Township, West Middlesex and Wheatland.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.

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