Animal shelter flooded

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The cold weather took its toll on the Belmont County Animal Shelter in the early hours of Tuesday when a water break flooded the facility. During most of Tuesday, the door to the shelter was coated with ice, and work crews hurried to clean up the building and make it workable again.

Commissioner Matt Coffland observed the aftermath, noting that the waterlines had been located in the ceiling.

“It destroyed the lobby area, mainly the office area and the examining rooms,” he said. “There is water damage, there’s ceiling damage, possibly some equipment damage.”

He noted that all of the dogs were safe and housed in a dry area of the building. He said the animals were still cared for, but the facility was closed to the public.

“I walked in to find the front door absolutely frozen shut,” said Diane Amend, shelter coordinator. “We’re trying to get it repaired and back up and moving.”

“They came in, they found the leak. We actually had three main water breaks within the building, and all of our waterlines are overhead.”

She added that the water is back in service. There is yet no estimate of the cost of the damage. There is no current timetable before the facility is restored. The next step will be installing fans to try and dry everything out.

“We’re going to reassess everything tomorrow. We’re hoping we can do something tomorrow or the next day,” she said.

She added that the entire operating room and front office was down.

“We lost phones. We lost all kinds of things. Lots of paperwork, lots of records,” she said, adding that the extent of the loss of records is not yet determined. “It’s too early.”

“If it wasn’t freezing cold, this would have never happened. It was definitely the cold that did this,” she said, noting the older building. “The design of the place was definitely a factor.”

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@