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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jackson County’s newest animal shelter will finally open this April. After a year of negotiations between the county and the city of Independence, the empty kennels will soon have dogs and cats in them.

The shelter will be operated by the Great Plains SPCA for the next five years and be a “no kill shelter” as was the original plan. Courtney Thomas, Great Plains SPCA President and CEO, says the new shelter is a big deal for the region.

“We have a tremendous asset here in eastern Jackson County that truly has the potential to convert this region to a no kill region,” said Thomas.

The new shelter cost $5.5 million to build and Great Plains has planned an operating budget of $1.3 million per year. The city of Independence will pay $435,000 and Jackson County will contribute $130,000 a year.

The shelter will be a one-stop shop with intake, adoption and training rooms, plus a veterinarian clinic and grooming areas.

“We will hosting public dog training classes and do summer camps for children this year,” said Thomas.

The new regional center is four times the size of the current Independence shelter and will employ 22 people. There are 96 dog runs and space for more than 100 cats.

All the animals at the current Independence shelter will be transitioned to the new shelter. The doors will officially open April, 9th, 2013.

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