AUGUSTA — Kennebec Valley Humane Society will upgrade its heating system with money donated by a local businessman.

Lon Walters, owner of Woodlands Senior Living in Hallowell, Waterville, Brewer, Rockland and Cape Elizabeth, recently donated $60,000 to the Augusta animal shelter. Of that total, $50,000 will be used to upgrade the animal shelter’s heating system, to make it more efficient and switch from oil to propane. The remaining $10,000 will be used for general support of the shelter.

Hillary Roberts, executive director of Kennebec Valley Humane Society, said the heating system upgrade could save the shelter, which now burns between 9,000 and 10,000 gallons of oil a year, more than $10,000 a year.

She said the donation is the largest the shelter has received from an individual since completing a capital campaign in 2000.

“This gift will have a lasting impact on our ability to save and improve the lives of animals in need,” Roberts said in a news release.

Roberts said the new heating system will also allow the shelter to use natural gas when it becomes available in the area, potentially creating additional savings.

Walters said his love of animals, especially dogs, compelled him to take action.

“I saw this as an opportunity to make a contribution to KVHS that will provide an ongoing benefit,” Walters said in the news release from the shelter. “The money saved in fuel costs can now be used to further their great work caring for animals.”

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