Carbon County officials are still looking for a solution for its animal shelter.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, said that they are still looking to get out of the shelter business, due to budgetary reasons, and hopes that a nonprofit organization could take over the operations of the shelter, both financially and physically.

The shelter costs the county just under $100,000 to operate annually, and the loss of thousands in state funding has put a larger strain on the county's budget.

Nothstein hinted that there may be a group interested in taking over the operations at the shelter, but no other details could be released at this time. If the group takes over the operations, the county would let them use the building, located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, and would help cover some in-house costs, like water utilities.

If no group steps up to the plate, the county isn't sure what its going to do.

Nothstein and Thomas J. Gerhard, who both attended a public meeting about the situation, hosted by Tom Zimmerman IV last night, both agreed that neither want to close the shelter because it is necessary to help the county with animals, but they also can't keep operating it in the red.

During the impromptu meeting of the concerned residents, 22 animal lovers attended to give their input on the situation.

Susie Yaich and members of Carbon County Friends of Animals agreed that they would love to take over the operations, but that it isn't feasible because they already have to raise over $100,000 annually through fundraisers to keep the cat shelter afloat.

Yaich said that the only way CCFOA could take over operations would be to have a guarantee from the county that it would provide financial support annually.

Other residents offered suggestions on how to cut costs and best utilize volunteers.

After much discussion, the group then decided that they would brainstorm and meet again later this month.

In the meantime, Nothstein said that the shelter is looking for donations to help the dogs.

Donations can be dropped off at the shelter during normal business hours.

The shelter wish-list includes rawhides; peanut butter; raw hamburger meat; white rice; adjustable collars; kongs; large, durable chew toys; paper towels; bleach; Clorox wipes; Pine-sol; blankets and towels; brooms; and storage totes.

Nothstein stressed that dog food will not be accepted because they have an abundance of it.