KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Work has begun on the new animal shelter in Kosciusko County. The Animal Welfare League’s new building, being renovated, will be double the size of the existing building.
A capital campaign was conducted to raise funds for the remodeled structure. So far, $1.2 million has been raised. An architectural firm has plans and designs that will allow for more space and more comfortable arrangements for the adoption process. The building will be in excess of 10,500 square feet. It is located not far from the current building.
“The property also includes five acres, which gives us room for expansion, such as a dog park,” noted Director Darla McCammon, who said the building is visible from US 30. “It’s got great access.”
The current animal shelter is overcrowded and does not provide adequate space. “It’s a building on its last legs,” she said.
More cuddle rooms will be added. These are rooms where customers can interact with pets. Also to be included is more efficient office space to support pet adoptions. Public restrooms, along with new storage spaces to provide easier access to needed supplies are also part of the plans.
Better cage placement and design is part of the overall improvement. Improved areas for isolation and the prevention of disease is also part of the proposed plans. A flushing sewer system for the animal areas and more space where animals can be more efficiently maintained to the highest health and cleanliness standards is extremely important, said McCammon, and is included in the design criteria.
“We have phase one done,” said McCammon.
The addition of a room designated for employee breaks and plenty of locker storage is planned.
“We are adding several more offices that currently spill over and crowd the existing small break room,” she said.
A larger multi-purpose room will also be included. This room will be used for special activities, such as summer camps that are held for various youth groups, including Scouts, school groups and even children’s birthday parties, where they can have fun and learn about pets at the same time. This room will also be utilized for volunteer orientation and training, employee training and meetings, board meetings and rented out for public use when not occupied with shelter functions.
Plans to improve the lab, one of the most important areas in the health and well-being of shelter animals, are also included.
Plans are for larger areas for all functions. This includes an area for local veterinarians to use during spay and neuter clinics. Also, updated equipment and more efficient storage will be added. Better communication capabilities with other departments within the shelter, and streamlined methods of coordinating intake, as well as animals ready to be moved into adoption, are planned.
A wooded, dog walk is planned. The work is in process to allow safer, more enjoyable walking of shelter pets for customers wanting exercise or for potential adopters to negotiate with their family pet.
“We are a no-kill shelter. It takes a lot more to run a no-kill shelter. Donations are in great need to accomplish a goal that will benefit our entire community,” said McCammon.
Work on the once-vacant building is expected to be completed sometime this year.
About $300,000 is still needed to complete the building. To donate visit AWL’s website, www.awlwarsaw.com, or by mail to: AWL, P.O. Box 1906, Warsaw, IN 46581. Suggestions are always welcome for other improvements and questions are welcome from the public. Call the AWL at (574) 267-3008.