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The kennel door on left was replaced a few years ago by the Franklin County Humane Society through a grant. the door on the right is older and rusting. (Photo by McKenna Horsley)

The Franklin County Fiscal Court on Friday unanimously approved two items that would release the county from a lease with the state for land previously set aside for a new Franklin County Humane Society animal shelter. 

Magistrates voted to terminate a sublease between fiscal court and the Humane Society that set aside land near Capitol View Park on the East-West Connector. The court approved another motion to give notice to the state to terminate a lease agreement to use the land for an animal shelter. 

“From my understanding, the previous court had spent a lot of time presenting properties to the Humane Society," 3rd District Magistrate Michael Mueller said before casting his vote in favor of terminating the agreements. "They have decided to go a different direction. So I just want everybody to be clear that we aren’t just getting out of this to get out of it. They’ve asked us to.”  

Judge-Executive Huston Wells agreed with Mueller, adding that the agreement had been in place two courts ago. Wells said the county is committed to working with the Humane Society to meet its needs. 

The court approved the lease for land near Capitol View Park in 2016. First District Magistrate Sherry Sebastian asked County Attorney Rick Sparks if the land could be held for some other purpose, as the county reviews its infrastructure improvement goals, but Sparks said that the lease only allows the land to be used for an animal shelter. 

The City of Frankfort unanimously committed to lease property along Sower Boulevard to the Humane Society at a City Commission meeting on July 22. The free lease would last for at least 50 years with an option to renew. 

The current Humane Society building, which is on Kentucky Avenue, is about 50 years old. Employees have noted that the shelter sometimes floods during heavy rains and that it has one entrance and exit for all animals, exposing healthy animals to sick ones. 

The Humane Society has asked the city for $1.1 million and land and the county for $1.35 to build a new facility, which is estimated to cost $4.9 million. The Humane Society would raise the balance needed. 

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