Franklin County Humane Society to reopen following financial woes

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SAINT ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) The Franklin County Humane Society had to shut their doors this spring because of funding problems. Now they're planning to reopen next week.

Prep work is underway in St. Albans to make sure the Humane Society is ready to re-open their doors next week. "We have been doing renovations and HVAC upgrades for the past couple of weeks," said the group's Kelly Frederick.

They had to close back in April when finances got low. They say they lost $55,000 on eight dogs seized in a 2015 animal cruelty case that could not be adopted due to the ongoing legal battles. Now Frederick says they have turned a page. "We have a whole new staff, most of our board members are new, we've been working on new policies and procedures," she said.

Frederick says since this spring they've been fundraising and sticking to a budget and feel they've now closed the gap, but she says they will remain vigilant. "I don't know if I would call it stable. We are definitely doing all we can to rebound from that," she said.

Frederick says they plan to open up in phases. In a few weeks when the doors open up they'll just have cats, and we'll slowly add dogs to make sure that the shelter can handle the animals and supporting the new staff.

The shelters return will be a relief for local animal control officer David McWilliams who has had a busier summer than usual because of their absence. "Basically we have no place to put cats," he said. "I'm hoping with the Humane Society opening back up that they can start taking in cats that are abandoned here in Franklin County."

And the shelter hopes their community will welcome them back too. "I think that once we're open and the public sees that we're a different animal shelter than we were before, that the full community support will be back. We will be fine," Frederick said.

She said the Humane Society was helped by surrounding shelters, like the Chittenden County Humane Society. They not only took in animals from Franklin County while they were closed, but they are also helping train the staff in St. Albans. "They've been able to bring in consultants and really find out what best practices are and what the best cleansers are to use for animals -- everything that we haven't been able to do," she said.

The shelter plans to officially open their doors on October 12th.