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Lawrence building originally planned for animal shelter given to development commission

LAWRENCE, Ind. – A Lawrence building that was originally planned to be an animal shelter will be handed over to the city’s economic development commission. City leaders voted 6-2 to approve the transaction Wednesday night.

The city of Lawrence currently doesn’t have an animal shelter. In 2013, multiple dogs were found dead inside the former shelter and a criminal investigation was started.

“We had animals that suffered because they were in the shelter,” said Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier.

In 2015, the city voted to turn the abandoned building on N. Shadeland into an animal shelter. However, city leaders agreed the building was not in good shape and would not be a good fit.

“It’s not a question of whether or not we need one or certainly could we use one. The question is how do you prioritize your financing in there,” the mayor said.

Building and staffing a brand new shelter could cost more than $3 million. Mayor Collier said the city doesn’t have the cash to pay for it.

“There really isn’t any financial advantage to us building a shelter, but I think there is some sense of a morality being able to take care for our own animals,” said the mayor.

Council member Rick Wells previously proposed selling the building and using the cash to fund a new shelter. He said he’s not convinced the city will put revenue towards a new shelter.

“I’ve really given up hope of any involvement in the city,” Wells said.

Mayor Collier said the best possible solution would be to become a satellite location for The Humane Society of Indianapolis. He said they are already in talks and have a fund set-up to provide incentives like partially funding a new building.

The following report was recorded prior to the City’s vote: