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Carnegie animal shelter struggling to stay open

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CARNEGIE, Okla_A no-kill animal shelter in Carnegie is struggling to stay open. Owner Carol Skinner said, despite a recent $50,000 donation, The Rainbow Bridge Can Wait Animal Shelter is in desperate need of an upgrade, but finding a contractor to work on the project within their budget and time frame has been difficult. Skinner said the new facility has to be done by next February, at the height of winter, or she will be forced to shut down, leaving dozens of rescued animals in limbo.

The shelter takes dogs in from all over Comanche and Caddo County. In fact, Rainbow Bridge Can Wait is the only no-kill shelter in Carnegie. Skinner said she was overjoyed when a donor gave $50,000 towards a new facility back in July. But since then, it's been a series of false starts and disappointments.

When Skinner started the shelter ten years ago, she never thought she would be facing this situation. She said years of storm damage and lack of funding have taken a toll on the facility.

"There's been a lot of damage and it's really not conducive for them to be out in the weather and I don't have facility for them to be in at night for them to be warm. I do take them in and keep them out of the freezing weather but we need something now."

Skinner said what she wants to do is tear down the building and kennels and build an 1,800 square foot building made of cinder block, to keep the animals safe from the elements. She's got some startup money but finding a contractor has been difficult and she wants to have this project completed by February

So, when the shelter got the money, they thought their prayers were answered.

"We call contractors and they'll promise to come and they won't show up and we just couldn't believe if you have the money. It seems like the people that could work, had more work than they could do, we just thought it was a miracle and can't believe it hasn't already happened," volunteer Linda Langmacher said.

Langmacher and other volunteers like, Terri Johnson say this shelter has truly been a labor of love. Johnson pays for the Internet service to keep the shelter's adoption web site running.

"She said it means everything to her rescue because that's a way to show her dogs to everybody that looks that they needs homes. I just think that's the least I can do. She has a need, we love the dogs and we don't want to put them down"

Skinner said she will fight for her shelter and her dogs, who've found solace here at Rainbow Bridge for nearly a decade.

"Because it's so badly needed here, Oklahoma has a 95-percent kill rate overall in this state. So, in our rural communities dogs are dumped everyday cats are dumped everyday. I can't take them all but this gives them a hope"

Skinner said if she does have to shut down, she will keep the animals she has now until they have a home. If you would like to help the Rainbow Bridge Can Wait Shelter, you can call 580-654-2513 or go to www.rbcw.petfinder.org.

Skinner said she will be hosting a pet adoption this Saturday at Pet Sense on Cache Road in Lawton. It starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.

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