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Christmas Miracle Needed to Finish Easton Shelter

EASTON, Conn. – The hope that the new animal shelter in Easton would be completed before Christmas Day is no more.

“Getting this completed before this weekend is probably the greatest Christmas present the town or I could ask for,” said architect Mark Halstead.

The $529,000 project began in June 2010, and work was originally scheduled to be completed by Dec. 21, 2010. The new 12-run dog shelter replaces the 50-year-old, four-run dog shelter located at Westport and Sport Hill roads.

In the beginning of this month, Halstead and First Selectman Thomas Herrmann projected that the new building would have been completed around the Christmas holiday, but several setbacks have occurred.

“The project is moving forward still, but it’s moving slowly,” Halstead said.

Several items need to be completed by the general contractor, Robert Carlson, such as the installation of linoleum floors throughout the building, door latches and hinges, and two toilets, Halstead said. He also said “a few electrical issues” need to be addressed.

Most of the exterior fencing has been installed for the outdoor dog runs, and Halstead said he is waiting for cages to be delivered. The front door that has been installed is not the correct door, he said.

Herrmann said it was “very hard to say” when the shelter will be finished. Once the building is finished, Animal Control officers will still have to move in and get it ready for the public.

Members of the Animal Control division of the police department are anxiously awaiting the shelter's opening. Police Chief John Solomon, who is retiring Dec. 31, has played an active role on the shelter's building committee.

“I know that there is a sentimental feeling not only in the town, but for me as well, to get this project finished before Chief Solomon retires at the end of the month," Halstead said. "Unfortunately we just won’t have it ready in time."

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