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Waterford - On his 46th birthday, Animal Control Officer Robert Yuchniuk announced that the Waterford/East Lyme Animal Shelter has surpassed its fundraising goal of $100,000.
After a holiday fundraising push in December and a successful comedy event in November, the shelter has raised more than $113,000.
Yuchniuk called the announcement "a great birthday gift."
"In this economy, in less than two years, we raised that money," Yuchniuk said Monday, in between cake and ice cream with his family, "I'm so proud of everyone who has helped us get this far and who has chipped in. The volunteers, everybody, and I'm doubly proud that I got to announce this on my birthday."
The $100,000 goal was set by the town two years ago and Yuchniuk said that just because it has been met and surpassed, efforts for a new shelter - estimated at $1.7 million - won't stop.
"We're not going to be at the end of the road until we have the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new shelter," he said. "We're going to keep going. ... Everything that we raise is a dime the taxpayers don't have to come up with."
The Ad Hoc Dog Pound Committee on Monday announced that it is looking for an architect to design the building at no cost. The only catch, Yuchniuk said, is the town's rule that the person who draws up the plans cannot do the construction.
- Julianne Hanckel