The agency has made building a new shelter a priority.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- The agency taking over area animal welfare efforts plans to wrap up its director search in the next few weeks.
A search committee of the Salem Humane Society Inc. board has narrowed its candidate search to three people, said recently elected board President Pete Johnson.
The search committee is expected to make a hiring recommendation at the board's Feb. 4 meeting, Johnson said.
"I think we'll hire someone at that meeting," he added.
The job will start out as part time. But Johnson said he would like to see it grow to full time as the humane society develops.
Court battle: Salem Humane Society Inc. is taking over animal welfare efforts after its victory last month in a lengthy battle with a similarly named agency in Columbiana County Probate Court.
The dispute was over which group would receive operating money from a trust founded in the 1950s to benefit animals.
The Salem Area Humane Society, also known as the old group, is appealing its court loss to the Salem Humane Society Inc., known as the new group.
High on the new group's task list is creating an animal shelter.
The previous shelter, run by the old group, closed in late December after being ordered to do so by the court.
The facility, located west of Salem on U.S. Route 62, was the subject of complaints by neighbors who objected to shelter animals' frequent barking.
Johnson said the closed shelter recently was sold, as was ordered by the court. Proceeds will go to the trust fund.
New building: The new group intends to build a shelter in the county and is scouting for a site in the Salem area, Johnson said.
He added that he prefers a new building over renovating a structure.
A cost estimate for a new shelter hasn't been developed yet.
"I'd like to raise $100,000" to put toward building a new shelter, Johnson said. "We'll beg and borrow for everything we can get."
Johnson previously has said he hopes a new shelter can be constructed by summer.
The Salem Humane Society hopes to avoid warehousing large numbers of dogs and cats at the new shelter, Johnson said.
Keeping shelter numbers down will mean focusing on adoption and on having volunteers keep animals in their homes temporarily.
The new group is asking the county commissioners, Perry Township trustees and the Salem mayor's office to each appoint a person to the agency's board. They would be joining a group already selected by humane society members.
Salem and Perry Township's input on board membership is being sought because the new shelter is likely to be built in the Salem area.
Commissioners are being asked to appoint someone to ensure a countywide viewpoint on the agency's board.
Building trust: In formulating a new animal welfare effort in the area, Johnson said the agency wants to earn area residents' confidence by building a humane, well-run, fiscally accountable organization.
"If we do our job right, we'll earn the respect of the community," Johnson said.
To reach the humane society, call (330) 332-2600.