Dreams Can Come True
Mike Cassidy, director of public services for Jessamine County (Kentucky) is elated with his county’s new $720,000 animal shelter, which opened in July. Cassidy, who’s worked for the county for 13 years, wasn’t sure he’d ever get to see a modern building replace the old one, which he estimates was built 30-40 years ago. “We never thought we could get everybody on board to construct a new one. Even back then [when I started working for the county], we were saying, ‘How could we add onto this [one] to make it better?’” he says. No need to worry about add-ons now—the new shelter, at 10,000 square feet, is five times bigger, with the capacity to house 44 dogs and 22 cats. There are two separate wings—one for intake/stray animals, the other for adoptable pets—and properly sealed floors. Each wing has its own grooming station, and a room for food preparation and storage. There’s also a sick/isolation room for cats and dogs, which has its own air-handling system. Cats went from being housed in “a huge shed” with an air-conditioning window unit, to a room of their own with access to an outdoor enclosure. But the feature that has Cassidy the most jazzed is the new community/multifunction room, which the local Sam’s Club decked out with a smart TV, a laptop, iPads, and a surround-sound system. “I’m a big proponent of education, and we never have had a place where we could invite the public into our facility, and comfortably educate anybody. And that’s where it all starts,” he says.
A (Pet)Smart Location
In 2011, a new Enhanced Adoption Center opened inside a Boise PetSmart, thanks to a partnership between the Idaho Humane Society and PetSmart Charities. The 2,076-square-foot center will free up kennel space at the humane society’s main shelter, and provide a new venue for adoptable animals until they find homes. PetSmart Charities funded 100 percent of the build-out costs, and PetSmart is not charging the humane society—which will staff and run the center—any rent. The center can house more than 45 dogs and cats; about 20 pets are expected to be adopted from the site each week. “It’s in a really high-traffic area, right by the mall here in Boise, whereas our shelter is out behind the airport … there’s a lot of people coming through,” says Hannah Parpart, the humane society’s communications and outreach coordinator. The center’s upbeat design and retail-style atmosphere are a hit with visitors, too. “When you walk into a lobby, and you can see dogs frolicking and having such a great time, it sets the tone for a really positive experience.” Parpart says the center will allow Idaho Humane to increase its transfer program, taking in more pets from shelters with less visibility and lower adoption rates. PetSmart Charities has partnered with humane societies, animal control agencies, and animal welfare groups in seven states to open similar centers, helping find homes for more than 3,700 pets.
Something to Meow About
In June, Faithful to Felines, a cat rescue in Muskegon, Mich., had an open house to celebrate more than a year of work to renovate its recently purchased facility. Hundreds of people turned out to tour the site; the event was the culmination of efforts that started in December 2010, when the rescue bought the building. The move from a network of foster homes into the new facility was thanks to a large bequest from a local woman. “We really weren’t even aware that we were in her will … we had no idea what we were going to be getting. It could have been a hundred dollars, for all we knew,” Kellie Mink, the rescue’s president, says. The group soon received two checks totaling $150,000, and more funds followed—enough to buy two buildings and five acres of land outright, with more money left over. “Everything that we’ve done, we’ve done as economically as possible. We want to have a nest egg, in case something happens.” The facility, which can accommodate 100-125 cats, features nine rooms where cats can roam freely, a quarantine room, a sick room, an outdoor atrium, and a surgical unit for a veterinarian who visits once a week. The atrium has a little wooden bridge, which was donated, and volunteers painted a bright blue, fish-filled stream “running” underneath it. But the best feature? Every room in the building has a double-door closet, behind which are a sink, shelving, and cupboards—so food and cleaning supplies don’t have to be moved from room to room, eliminating a potential source of disease transmission (and making cat rooms a breeze to clean). It all adds up to a cat rescue that doesn’t look—or smell—the way the public might imagine.
Read the rest of this issue from Animal Sheltering magazine