Volunteers spruce up Warren Animal Shelter

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Volunteers will spend a good part of this week, and probably next, giving a lift to the Warren Animal Shelter.

Moving from room to room, they plan on painting most of the facility — the kennel area comes later — and will also put in a new linoleum floor. Work started Monday, though a lot of the time was spent just clearing out a few small rooms in the cramped shelter at the end of Wood Street.

“That’s half of it, trying to find somewhere to put everything,” volunteer Karen Lynch, a member of the Bristol Warren Regional School Committee, said.

The paint, primer, supplies, flooring and other materials were all donated through recent fund-raisers and donations from shelter friends. Ms. Lynch said it will take several weeks to finish the first part of the job. Afterwards, they’ll tackle the kennel.

As she and volunteer Sue Krause worked Monday afternoon, one thing was absent: The sound of animals. The shelter, which for years has been overrun with cats and dogs, has just a handful this week. There are currently three cats at the shelter and three dogs, though only two are available for adoption. The third, a pit mix named Lucky that had been there three years, was adopted last week, though his owners are going to be out of town until March 1. Lucky was the shelter’s longest-staying dog.

“We’re so happy he’s going home!” Ms. Lynch said.

Though volunteers expect the number of cats to go up in the spring, the shelter in general is much quieter than it was even six months ago. The biggest change has been the town’s decision to disaffiliate with a southern rescue organization that regularly brought dogs from southern states to northern shelters, like Warren’s, for adoption.

The decision to stop the program came after Heidi Garrity, still officially the town’s animal control officer, left the job on injured reserve following an accident in the animal control van last year. After she left, DPW worker Mike Briggs applied to fill in for her and was hired in the fall. He’s been there ever since and has been working with assistant ACO Kathi Krause.

“The shelter is really coming along,” Ms. Lynch said. “It’s changed so much. A little bit at a time.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.