WARSAW — They say if you build it they will come. That’s certainly true of the new Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County. The new, state-of-the-art animal shelter is now open.
The 13,000-square-foot facility opened in September, and it’s not far from the former shelter.
A premier medical facility for pets, AWL partners with a multitude of rescue organizations for animals. AWL also partners with the area’s community veterinarians and has vet technicians on staff.
The former animal shelter’s capacity was about 1,500 pets and strays a year due to not enough space.
“Our previous shelter was falling down around us,” said the board’s president Beth Harrison. “The building was never meant to be a shelter, and the animals deserved a better temporary home while waiting for their forever families.”
The new facility can now handle nearly 3,000 pets. The land for the project was purchased three years ago and the ground breaking took place November 2018. The total cost of the new shelter was $2.4 million.
“We currently have an $800,00 balance,” said Harrison. The facility’s new building had its grand re-opening Sept. 28.
“I think the improvements have improved the life of the pets entrusted in our care,” said Harrison. “Pets can save people and people can save pets.”
The new facility includes bigger office space, an intake room, a lab for on-site spaying and neutering, and an examination room.
The new shelter has five HVAC systems. This is so the air in the isolation room, where animals who are under medical care, doesn’t mix with the air in the adoption area.
There are also flushing drains throughout the animal areas, making cleaning easier. The facility also houses an indoor dog walking track. The walking track around the adoption area, is so the dogs get walked regardless of the weather.
The spacious cuddle rooms, said Harrison, are so families can meet and spend quiet time with a pet they are interested in to see if the pet is a good fit for them. An educational wing is for public and staff education as well as community activities.
A 20-foot, free-roaming silo, located just inside the front door, can accommodate 18 cats in a climate-controlled environment. AWL currently has 300 cats and 200 more on a waiting list. Outdoor runs will be added at a future date.
The league’s employees are benefitting from the expansion as well. A designated break room is located inside the new facility.
The new location increases the league’s laundry capabilities. AWL staff currently does about 15 or more loads of blankets, towels and rags every day. All of the washers and dryers were donated.
Sponsorships are needed for the indoor track. The kennels also need a sponsorship from a business owner or company as does one of the cuddle rooms. Grant writers are needed, especially students majoring in nonprofit work.
“Good things are happening for the animals of Kosciusko County,” said Harrison.
The AWL hours are: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
“Currently, our cat adoption fee is $25 as we are at capacity,” Harrison noted.
Normal adoption rates are: $90 for a kitten, $70 for an adult cat, $160 for a puppy, and $130 for an adult dog.
AWL’s website, www.awlwarsaw.com, lists the current needs. AWL is located at 1048 S. CR 325E, just south of US 30 East, in Warsaw. For more information, call (574) 267-3008.