Thursday, October 30, 2014

Humane Society Seeks $600,000 for Needed Facility Expansion
April 3, 2014 by Gwen Cooper | No Comments

Plans to expand and remodel Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village animal shelter passed the sniff test with society board members and private donors pledging $2.4…

Plans to expand and remodel Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village animal shelter passed the sniff test with society board members and private donors pledging $2.4 million of the $3 million goal, said Katie Campbell, marketing coordinator.

One currently anonymous donor pledged a $1.5 million gift, the largest ever received by the shelter.

Once the work is completed, that donor’s name will be revealed and appear on the front of the building, according to a recent announcement.

The campaign is now going public to raise the additional $600,000 needed to add basement storage, double the size of the facility’s community room, add isolation areas for new arrivals and a new kitten adoption area.

It will also add some new sections the shelter does not currently have, including a puppy adoption area and a separate area for pocket pets, such as guinea pigs and hamsters.

“We will basically double our space, primarily in the back areas where we take in new arrivals and keep them isolated until their medical needs are met and they are ready for adoption,” Campbell said. “One very positive result for the public is that we will have less of a waiting time to drop off rescued animals and pets that owners can no longer care for.”

The expansion will add a radiology area to take X-rays of the animals when needed, which can help expedite the treatment and care of new arrivals, Campbell said.

“We will be able to save more animals,” she added.

She estimates 400 more animals can be saved representing a 25 percent increase. The shelter will also be able to spay and neuter 30 percent more outdoor animals.

Shelter Manager Ed Pashkin said the expansion will be able to take in and care for a larger and more consistent pool of animals for the public to adopt.

Currently, the number of adoptable animals cycles, running the gamut from over capacity at the peak to slim pickings once that group finds new homes, he said.

“The shelter fills up to capacity and after we hold a promotion to adopt them out, we don’t have many to choose from until the cycle starts over,” Pashkin said. “People come in when our inventory is low and ask, ‘Where are the animals to adopt?’ With a greater capacity we will be able to keep the adoption floor full and have a more consistent stream of new, adoptable pets to choose from.”

Pashkin said Re eitherscue Village is seeing more seizures of animal colonies, such as the 94 cats recently rescued from a commercial property in Burton. Other publicized rescues this past year included 40 dogs from one owner and five horses from another.

“Our humane officer told us that 2013 was a record year for seizures, which is our last resort,” Pashkin said. “We’d rather try to work with owners than have to seize the animals.”

Reasons for the growing trend of seizures include the weaker economy and an aging population who may have been able to care for the animals a few years ago.

“Things sometimes get out of hand for them,” he said. “We want to intercede sooner than later.”

Pashkin said when the 94 cats were rescued, the shelter had to stack up the cages of cats in the community room, which did not allow it to be used for assessing dog behavior of rescued dogs.

“Increasing our space is vital,” he said. “It’s also exciting to have enough space to house more dogs and be able to work with ones that have minor behavioral issues, so they can be adopted.”

The ground-breaking for the project is slated for late spring or early summer.

Lead architect Herschman Architects and nationally recognized shelter architect Rick Bacon have been engaged to help with the expansion and reconfiguration of the space, which now measures 10,500 square feet.

A new website component will be operational within the next few weeks to allow interested people to donate funds online at geaugahumane.org.

People can also either donate in person at the shelter at 15463 Chillicothe Road in Russell Township or by contacting the shelter at 440-338-4819.

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