NORMAN — Sara Maisano loved animals. Starting at about age two, she was attracted to petting zoos and had a particular fondness for goats. She gravitated toward stray animals and was so soft-hearted she would have filled up the Maisano house with adopted animals if her family would have let her.
“I used to joke with her that I had her on the ‘do not adopt list’ at the shelter,” said Sara’s father, Norman Deputy Police Chief Jim Maisano. “I was afraid another kitten or another puppy would end up in her pocket and come home with her.”
Sara watched with great interest as plans for the new Norman Animal Shelter developed.
“She really liked the idea of that little sun room for the cats,” Jim Maisano said. “When the project came in and was over budget, she was really sad that the sun room wasn’t going to be there.”
Sara, 23, was murdered during a domestic dispute on June 27. As Jim, his wife Alicia and daughter Melissa, struggled to walk through the pain and grief, happy memories of Sara’s giving spirit and love of animals brought some small consolation.
Now, her family is working to turn tragedy into something positive for the Norman community. As a tribute to Sara, her family is raising the extra money needed to build the cat porch for the new animal shelter planned on South Jenkins Avenue.
“The renovated building is expected to last for at least 20 years, so adding this area would continue and share her love for animals for years to come,” Jim Maisano said. “It is estimated that total cost would be about $9,000 to add this item back into the project.”
Generous donations from the community and family friends have already raised over $3,000, and matching donations in the amount of $2,000 are expected from two local veterinarians.