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Avon animal shelter celebrates expansion groundbreaking

The owners have been raising money for three years to expand their facility to help care for more animals.

AVON, Ind. — Ten years ago, Renee Harlor and Cherie Fox wanted to improve the homeless animal population in Hendricks County and came up with the idea of Misty Eyes Animal Center. It's 100% volunteer-based, and in the past 10 years, they've been able to help more than 2,000 cats and dogs.

Still, for every one dog they are able to take in, they have to turn two away, primarily because of space limitations.

For the last three years, Harlor and Fox have been raising money for an expansion at Misty Eyes so they can help more animals. This October, the owners celebrated the groundbreaking for its facility expansion.

It will include a new Kitty City, which will allow them to help 400 more cats a year, Canine Country, and an education center that will include training for the animals and humans.

Harlor said beyond rehabilitating and rehoming animals, they're passionate about teaching people pet ownership responsibility and kindness. That's what their education and outreach teams do.

Fox said cats are in more dire need than dogs because they seem to be turned out and abandoned more often.

"There's a huge stray cat population," Fox said.

She said it's vital for the community to understand why spaying and neutering are so important.

RELATED: Indianapolis low-cost animal clinic helping prevent overpopulation

"One female kitten can start having babies by 8 months of age. They can have five, six per litter. They can go into heat, eight weeks to 10 weeks after they've had a litter, and this cycle can continue," Fox said.

The center is run solely by volunteers, foster families and donations from the community.

Right now, the center has about 65 foster families taking care of the animals in their homes. There is no cost for foster families. Everything — food, medicine, even toys — is provided by Misty Eyes through donations.

The shelter is always looking for more volunteers. For more information about how to help, visit mistyeyes.org.

RELATED: 13 to the Rescue: Brown County Humane Society gets new facility after decades of volunteer work