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Dog, cat group acquires property for shelter in Gouverneur

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GOUVERNEUR — Friends 4 Pound Paws is a step closer to an animal shelter in southern St. Lawrence County with the purchase of 3.8 acres on Route 11 in Gouverneur.

“It’s exciting,” said Clover J. Forsythe, the nonprofit organization’s chairwoman. “It’s a dream for a lot of people in this community.”

On May 31, the group closed on the $20,000 property purchase.

A crumbling house and a number of outbuildings have to be removed before the site is landscaped and a shelter is planned.

“We mainly bought it because it had a nice location,” Mrs. Forsythe said. “We’re in the baby stages still. You’ve got to start somewhere. There’s so many steps with this.”

The organization was born in 2011 out of a desire to better dogs’ lives at the Gouverneur pound.

“Two years later, we bought some land,” Mrs. Forsythe said. “That’s a major accomplishment.”

Friends 4 Pound Paws has volunteer foster parents for unwanted dogs and cats. The organization finds homes for animals through Facebook, word of mouth and an office Spilman’s Garage in Fowler lets it use at no charge.

The group solicits donations and runs fundraisers. Its next fundraiser will be a dog walk parade from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 27 at the Gouverneur Elks. Several vendors are expected and children’s activities will be offered. Money will be raised through pledges for dogs that will compete for prizes such as best dressed.

Everyone who has adopted a dog through the organization is invited. All are welcome and may call the group at 842-7297.

“We need to raise another $20,000,” Mrs. Forsythe said. “We’re all volunteers. I think everybody’s heart is in the right place.”

The group focuses on finding foster homes for dogs at the pound to save unclaimed canines from euthanasia. It also tries to find foster homes for cats because there is no facility that regularly takes them from Gouverneur residents.

Any shelter built on the site will start small, Mrs. Forsythe said.

“We have to look at whether we can sustain it,” she said.

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