This article was published in the Lenoir News-Topic.

A local nonprofit hopes to raise $100,000 by 2015 to open what would be Caldwell County’s only animal shelter where pets would not routinely be put to death.

Volunteers at Pet Partners Network Inc. hope to build a privately run shelter that would typically be referred to as “no-kill” – shelters that either don’t euthanize animals, or hold off on euthanasia for all but terminally ill or dangerous animals.

Pet Partners prefers the term “life-saving” to “no-kill,” fundraising chairperson Colleen Byrd said.Whatever you call it, there’s not currently a shelter fitting that description in Caldwell County. Pet Partners – which holds weekly Adopt-a-Pet events behind Tractor Supply in Lenoir – is not the county’s only animal rescue organization. But none own an independent shelter.

In 2012, 3,812 animals were euthanized in Caldwell County, according to Caldwell County Animal Control. So far in 2013, 1,263 animals have been euthanized.

Since the organization’s founding in September 2008, it has been Pet Partners’ goal to build a life-saving shelter, founder Judy Cary said. The shelter would likely be staffed by volunteers.

“The long-term goal of a no-kill shelter has always been part of our mission statement,” Cary said. “So it’s not a new idea, it’s just, when we first formed the organization, we didn’t have the money to build it.”

Pet Partners currently has raied $10,000 so far.

The organization will formally kick off its fundraising with a golf tournament at the Lenoir Golf Course on Oct. 11. Cary said she hopes people throughout the community will get involved with the project.

“We have many folks who want to see a no-kill shelter here, but no one person has the money to build this,” she said. “It’s going to have to be a community effort.”

Caldwell is one of the only counties in the area that doesn’t have a no-kill shelter. Burke, Catawba, Iredell and Watauga counties have shelters that qualify.

That’s part of what fuels Pet Partners’ efforts to build a life-saving shelter in Caldwell County, Byrd said.

“We want to show that we care about our animals, too,” she said.