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Paws of Plainville, Inc. has closed at its current facility. More information to come soon.

From the Sun Chronicle, February 14, 2018, by Kayla Canne,, with permission:

PLAINVILLE -- Twenty years ago, there were no cat shelters in Plainville or Wrentham.

So a group of volunteers set out to do what they thought would help both protect the population of stray cats in their community and stop that population from getting out of control.

They set up a trap-neuter-return program, in which volunteers would humanely trap feral cats, bring them to veterinarians to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and return the cats to the wild.

About 10 years in they realized that wasn't enough, and they set out to create a no-kill cat shelter for the neighboring towns. There, they offered adoption services to residents looking for a furry friend to rescue from the wild or from abandonment. And they earned a coveted spot in the animal community.

But after 20 years of charitable work, Paws of Plainville is closing its doors.

Sue Jones, one of the founding members and vice president of the non-profit shelter, said Wednesday the group hasn't been able to find a location fit for the shelter and will be closing its doors Saturday.

The shelter moved from its original location in a trailer beside the former Wood School on South Street to a multi-tenant building on West Bacon Street in June, after plans to turn the Wood School lot into a new town hall and public safety building were approved.

Jones said the new landlord was accommodating but the group soon realized the location wasn't the right fit for an animal shelter.

But it's not the end just yet, she added.

The group is still exploring different avenues and looking for ways they can continue their mission. But as of Saturday they will no longer be accepting rescued feral cats or surrendered animals.

The seven remaining cats left in their care have been adopted out this week, Jones said.

February is a slow month for animal rescues, though the busyness of spring is just around the corner, so the shelter decided now was a good time to regroup.

But it wasn't a decision taken lightly.

It's emotional for all of us, Jones said.

The shelter was not just a place to take care of cats. For many it was a place to make friends and build a community. To find purpose and put their talents to use. To educate others and to find rewards in service.

Our volunteers go the extra mile for these cats, Jones said. It's not easy to put all of yourself in something for so long.

Jones said the shelter was birthed out of a dozen like-minded people who wanted to make an impact.

What motivates someone to do something like this? she asked. You see a need.

Five of the original volunteers are still with the shelter today. In that time they've grown to a safe haven for stray cats in Wrentham and Plainville and have helped find new loving homes for cats surrendered by previous owners.

It's challenging work, Jones said, that requires assessing and treating a cat's behavior and health to screening potential families and arranging adoptions. They've averaged 150 a year.

We've come so far in 20 years of cat rescue, she said. We had no idea how far it would go.

The community really embraced it in 20 years.

But Jones said the group also had to be practical when considering a closure.

We can't continue to take in animals when we're not in a good situation, she said. It's an unfortunate reality.

She still hopes the closure is temporary.

We made such a difference and there's still opportunity ahead, she said. Who knows what will be going on in the future?

But in the meantime, the shelter will be putting information of other nearby shelters and resources on its website and Facebook page. Wrentham is home to 4-Paws Animal Shelter while Angelcat Haven works out of Plainville.

Kayla Canne can be reached at 508-236-0336, or on Twitter at @SCNAttleboro.