SparKy — Saving Paws Animal Rescue of Kentucky — has a new home at 1004 E. 18th St.

Records at the Daviess County Property Valuation Administrator’s office show the organization bought the 1,266-square-foot building last month for $107,000.

“We’re very excited,” John Austin, SparKy’s president, said this week. “We’ve always used foster placement for dogs and cats. There’s a lot to be gained that way. And we’ll continue to do that. But we need a permanent headquarters and office.”

The new facility will let the organization launch its Sheltered Start program.

Austin said SparKy will be able to “take in a pregnant dog and get her and her puppies fixed after they’re born. And we can find them homes. But people need to realize that we’re not ready to start just yet. Check our website — sparkyrescue.com — for updates. We hope it will be very soon.”

Dog and cats that are not spayed or neutered continue to have more pups and kittens, creating more of a homeless pet population in the community, he said.

“We have yet to slow down,” Austin said. “If space and money were not an issue, we could handle many times over what we now handle.”

He said SparKy, a no-kill shelter, saw its best year in 2020 despite COVID.

Austine said, “We adopted out about 300 dogs last year — the most ever. We’ve adopted out more than 2,000 since we started.”

He estimated that the organization “probably handled 350 dogs last year with fostering.”

Some of the local dogs go to the Green River Correctional Complex in Muhlenberg County for its Death Row Dog Program.

The program’s website says, “This name was initially given to our program, due to giving these dogs a second chance for a new life. DRD has been up and running since 2004. The program started with 24 dogs in each class. Over the years, the number has decreased and there are now 12 dogs per class. The dogs in the program are housed with two inmate trainers who are responsible for their needs and training for the 12-week program.”

Austin said, “Honestly, in March last year when COVID started, I was worried that we’d be inundated with dogs people were bringing back. But we had several people drive here from Chicago, northern Ohio and Tennessee to pick up dogs. They were enthusiastic about getting them. We checked them out and they were good pet owners.”

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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