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Could the animal shelter have a new home?

The Johnson City/Washington County Animal Shelter could soon have a new, more spacious home.
Debbie Dobbs, shelter director, found a building on L.P. Auer Road in Johnson City that would require minimal work to turn it into an operational animal shelter to replace the current shelter on Sells Avenue in Johnson City, she said.
The facility is 16,000 square feet, a big – and needed – increase from the shelter’s current indoor space of 4,200 square feet, Dobbs said.
“We outgrew our current location 10 years ago. We take in over 8,700 animals each year,” Dobbs said. “The animal shelter needs a larger facility. We need a larger animal control center to keep up with population growth in the city and the county.”
According to Dobbs, staff has used every possible square inch of the current facility to house homeless dogs and cats, but still cannot accommodate all of the unwanted pet population.
“We have 82 kennels now, but we could have more than 100 and still not have enough,” Dobbs said.
Washington County and Johnson City split the cost of an appraisal on the L.P. Auer property, a former fitness center located about a quarter mile from the West Walnut Street and State of Franklin Road intersection in Johnson City.
The appraisal, conducted on Friday, had yet to be returned to Dobbs by late Monday morning.
According to Dobbs, a previous tax appraisal on the property put the value at somewhere around $800,000.
However, according to Dobbs, the owner of the property is willing to work with the shelter on the cost of the facility.
After she receives word on the appraisal, Dobbs said she will go to both Washington County and Johnson City leaders to see how the purchase of the building can be funded.
County commissioners reportedly have requested to visit the property in the coming weeks.