Kilimanjaro puts his best paw foreward to help build a new shelter for dogs and cats in need of a new home.
Board members of the North Country SPCA and contractors had a quiet ground breaking ceremony at the site for a new shelter Aug. 14.
The ceremony held at the construction site on Route 9N east of Elizabethtown was a small victory after a year of planning and two years of fundraising according to co-chair of the capital campaign, Margaret Reuther.
“Building the new shelter would not have been possible without the generosity of nearly 1,000 people throughout Essex County as well as other parts of New York and also Vermont,” Reuther said. “The tremendous support from our community has made this exciting new building a reality.”
The shelter, to be named the Frances Miller Shelter after the mother of one of the major donors, is the only animal shelter in Essex County.
Each year, the NCSPCA cares for over 400 homeless, abandoned and abused animals, continuing its mission since it was founded in 1969. The new shelter will offer animals a state of the art facility to call home till they find their permanent families.
Reuther said the project is still in need of $50,000 for final construction costs but the group is faithful the funds will be attained through fundraisers before the building is completed.
Earlier in the year the non-for-profit submitted a new set of plans for the building to remain on budget and on time.
“We didn’t downgrade any of the plans we simply cut some of the electives we would have liked but didn’t need,” Reuther said. “All in all, we are on schedule to open a great shelter for the animals.”
The new shelter, with a capacity designed to meet the needs of 65 cats and up to 25 dogs will not only be able to comfortably house more animals than the current shelter, located at 23 Lakeshore Road, but should help increase adoption rates.
“Based on studies of animal adoption rates at new shelters, we expect our adoption rate to increase 50 to 100 percent,” Reuther said. “We anticipate many more people will come to the shelter because it will be a very welcoming facility.”
Reuther said the new facility will include an improved ventilation system that will reduce the spread of illness among the shelter animals, meet standards for animal care with isolation rooms for sick animals and a room for basic medical procedures.
The facility will be welcoming to potential pet owners with areas where people can spend time with a pet before adoption. There will also be another room for obedience and puppy training to send animals with good manners to new homes.
The property will also include larger kennel areas and a large wooded area outside for animals to play and excersize.
Shelter designers, ARQ Architects, the firm who designed the ASPCA headquarters in New York City, chose this project in Essex County because they wanted to create a model for smaller community shelters all across the country.
Individuals who wish to make a donation to help fund the final construction costs can send a check to: North Country SPCA, 23 Lake Shore Road, Westport, N.Y. 12993, or donate online at www.ncspca.org.