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Animal Friends closer to facility

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As things currently stand in St. Croix County, there isn't an official animal shelter for lost or abandoned cats and dogs.

St. Croix Animal Friends has made it their mission to change that.

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Now, after five years of work, they're getting very close to achieving their goal.

Representatives of SCAF approached the Village of Roberts and Town of Warren boards in July about their pending purchase of the Country Store property, located at 638 Highway 65. The property is 6.5 acres, and the purchase is contingent upon the county board approving the building of an animal shelter and education center on the site.

Both Roberts and Warren approved of SCAF's plans.

SCAF plans to construct a new building on the site to house lost or abandoned cats and dogs that are up for adoption.

"We need to have a healthier building," said Sharon Elliot, president of St. Croix Animal Friends, explaining why they'd like a new facility. The building would be about 6,000-8,000 square feet. The cost would be covered through fund raising.

There is the potential to keep the large barn to use as an educational facility for classes and training.

Before that can happen, the St. Croix County Board must approve the plans and issue a special exception and variance request.

The meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Government Center in Hudson. The board doesn't have to make a decision that day.

"We are hoping that we have a large turnout on this date to show the need and support for this," Elliot said.

The meeting will determine site usage, and could potentially put stipulations on the property.

The site is currently zoned commercial. The last site SCAF was considering was ag/residential. That was one reason it was rejected.

Should the plans be approved, SCAF will begin fund raising for the cost of the building. They have enough funding for the purchase of the property, Elliot said.

SCAF appears to have a lot of St. Croix County residents backing them. They started circulating a petition in March. They had approximately 3,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon and are still collecting more.

@by:About SCAF

@t:SCAF was formed in December 2005, with a vision of promoting a positive relationship between animals and people through education and community programs and providing animals with a compassionate experience in a temporary residence, and to assist them in finding a home.

The group's mission is five-fold:

--To offer a safe refuge, nourishment and opportunity for a better life for unwanted, abused or injured animals.

--To promote responsible pet ownership through humane education and spay/neuter programs in the area.

--To work to unite lost animals with owners and place unwanted animals in caring homes.

--To build communication and community support so people will value animals and treat them with kindness and respect.

--To provide care and respect through the life and death of the animal using qualified veterinary professionals.

For more information, see their website www.stcroixanimalfriends.org.

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