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New Humane Society building opens

May 20, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A tiger-patterned cat rolled over on his back and stretched, his paws reaching toward the human hand on the other side of his glass-paned cubicle.

Nearby, a black and white kitten played hide and seek with a toy under a blanket.

Cats can't talk, but judging from their behavior these felines sure like their new home - a $2.1 million animal shelter on Maugansville Road west of Hagerstown.

At a reception Friday evening, the Humane Society of Washington County thanked the large donors who helped build the shelter.

The public is invited to tour the building today between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

After many years in the planning, the new shelter opened Dec. 19, said Executive Director Maria Procopio.

The cats, who were the first residents to move in from the old shelter, perked up right away, employees said.

"They were all playing and it was wonderful to see it," said Debbie Porterfield.

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With four times the room and a better ventilation system, the animals are healthier and happier, she said.

"I've been with the shelter for 30 years and this is like a dream come true," said board member Carol Johnson of Yarrowsburg.

The Washington County Commissioners paid for 70 percent of the new shelter and donations made up the rest.

The Humane Society, founded in 1920 as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is the oldest nonprofit organization in the county, said Joe Tischer, chair of the building fund.

In 1955, under the leadership of Margaret Stickell, the organization bought about 2.5 acres at its current location for $1,270.

At Friday's reception, Board President Tracey Bowman announced the creation of an endowment dedicated to the memory of Paige G. Hershey of Hagerstown.

"During her illness she attended meetings and made calls from home. She never gave up on this dream," Bowman said.

Hershey lost her battle with cancer four months before the shelter's groundbreaking in October 2000.

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