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Financial Shortfall May Force Clayton SPCA To Close

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CLAYTON — Charles Cladwell, a generous donor, left money to the Clayton SPCA in his will, but since his death the money is drying up, and thousands are going to his dog instead.

Melinda Barefoot has run the shelter for the last 15 years. She gives her life to animals in need, but the shelter is about to run out of money.

"The worst case is that we wouldn't have the money to pay utilities and operate," she says.

The Clayton SPCA was counting on the bequest from Cladwell, a Raleigh resident who died in 1995.

"He cared for animals more than people," Barefoot said.

Cladwell funded most of the Clayton SPCA building and, in his will, he indicated he wanted thousands of dollars to go to the shelter.

"Time after time he told me, don't worry, hang in there, someday you'll have what you need," Barefoot says.

But a lawyer for the estate says that money is drying up. The estate pays his surviving dogs $3,500 a month. That, plus a huge payment to the IRS, has left virtually nothing for the shelter.

"If that's what he wanted, I don't want his dog to not have what he wanted. I guess he's a rich dog," she said.

But Barefoot also thinks that Mr. Caldwell would be distressed to know that the shelter is in jeopardy. She hopes to find a new benefactor to help fund the old man's dream.

Cladwell's lawyer says he has been giving the Clayton shelter $1,000 a month out of his own fee. If the shelter closes, the Johnston County animal shelter says it will be difficult for them to accomodate all the animals from Clayton.


Chip Muller, Reporter
Greg Clark, Photographer
Julian King, Web Editor

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