A group of concerned animal lovers are hoping to help Carbon County find a solution for its animal shelter.

Nearly 20 residents met Monday evening at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency in Nesquehoning to discuss possible options that could work to guarantee the county continues having a dog shelter. This was the second meeting by the group on this subject.

During the meeting, Matt Arner, an officer with the Lehighton Police Department and dog lover, provided information on a way to form a non-profit group, which would work with the county to operate and cover funding for the shelter.

He handed out two pages of the "ASPCA Keys to a Great Shelter" article, which talks about how a shelter in New Jersey transformed from a deteriorated mess to a successful shelter. The key to the success was that an alliance between the town's shelter society and the town government was formed.

Arner said he felt this could work in Carbon County because it would alleviate some of the problems the county is facing, such as lack of state funding, higher operational expenses, and the quick turnaround of shelter employees.

"It would be a great cost-cutting measure," Arner told the group, adding that to make this option work, volunteers would be needed to start the process of making a nonprofit organization.

The group seemed receptive to the idea and began discussing the next step.

Susie Yaich of the Carbon County Friends of Animals said they would need to figure out costs, a board of directors, what the group wants to become and its goals.

Donna Crum, a Carbon County Animal Cruelty officer, said to help get the ball rolling, the shelter needs to start showing a presence in the community.

Currently, shelter volunteers will be at an event at the Lehighton pool on Thursday and then have some of the 18 adoptable dogs at Polka for Pets, also in Lehighton, this Sunday.

Crum also suggested having an open house at the shelter to show people what the place is all about.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, who was present at the meeting, asked where the group plans to go from this point on.

They agreed that committees should be formed to go over budget items, like how much each municipality is charged, kennel maintenance expenses, and other operational expenses to determine how they could cut costs without cutting services; doing research on becoming a nonprofit organization; and spreading the word about the shelter and its animals.

The group then decided that a third meeting is needed to discuss each committees' findings. It has been scheduled for July 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the EMA building.