Monday, December 13, 2010

Man killed, animal shelter damaged in roof collapses

By Boyd Huppert, KARE

A Western Wisconsin animal shelter is counting its blessings after part of its roof collapsed during Saturday's snow storm - causing only minor injuries to one dog.

"We have volunteers out there all the time, walking and playing with the dogs," said Colleen O'Shaughnessy, director of the Gregory's Gift of Hope rescue shelter in New Richmond. "This could have been so serious."

The corrugated steel roof over an exercise arena collapsed under the weight of the snow around dinner time. Volunteer Adam Haroldson said he'd been "in and out" of the arena several times during the day. "There but for the grace of God I wasn't out there" when it crashed, he said Monday.

Haroldson says he got chills when he read later another man who was killed elsewhere in St. Croix County Saturday evening during a similar collapse of a corrugated steel roof. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department says 58-year-old Kenneth Swanson was in a livestock shelter when the roof came down under the weight of heavy snow. Swanson was pronounced dead at the Hudson hospital.

Only one dog -- a 10-year-old pit bull mix named Juno -- was in the shelter's arena when the roof came down. Juno suffered a small piece of Juno paw was torn off. After a stay at the vet, she was back at the shelter on Monday.

The Shelter is seeking foster homes for its dogs, which will need to be removed during demolition of the old roof and reconstruction. More information can be found on the shelter's website or by calling 715-246-2467.

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