WESTPORT — Assorted canines joined North Country SPCA workers, volunteers and board members for a recent visit to their new shelter site.
The facility, which is scheduled to open in February 2013, is being built about 4 miles east of Elizabethtown off Route 9N.
“This is an extraordinary and exciting moment for cats and dogs in Essex County,” said Margaret Reuther, board member and co-chair of the capital campaign.
“I want to thank the com
munity and board members for all the support and hard work over the past four years since we bought the property. A lot of people helped raise the money, from holding bake sales to those with large donations.”
She estimated that about 1,000 people have donated to the fund.
The Frances Miller Shelter, which is named for the mother of one of the major donors, is expected to care for at least 400 cats and dogs each year. It will house up to 65 cats, both in “colony” rooms where up to 10 cats can roam, and in individual “condos.”
Up to 25 dogs and puppies will live in quiet, cozy rooms instead of cramped wire cages, shelter officials said in an email.
The new shelter will have isolation rooms for sick animals and areas where people can spend time with a pet before adoption. There will be a room for basic medical procedures and another for obedience and puppy training.
The wooded, 18-acre property will have walking trails and a large, fenced play yard.
“It’s important for people to understand one of our goals is to eliminate the spread of disease,” Reuther said.
“We also will separate the cats and dogs so animals will settle in more easily and be less aggressive, or shy as the case may be. We will also be able to increase the number of animals we serve.”
Reuther recalled how her husband, David, who is also a board member, found the land. It had been owned by Ray Manley, who operated a gravel pit on the property, and was offered part of an estate sale.
“So we said, ‘It’s perfect. Let’s go for it.’ And we were fortunate enough to get it,” she said, adding a big thanks to the Manley family.
READY TO BUILD
She and others were pleased with the condition of the land.
“This has been a long and exciting process,” architect Jay Orr said. “North Country SPCA is a fantastic organization to work with. This is an ideal place for the program to grow. We do a lot of animal-care shelters and increasingly see small community groups. This is a paradigm for animal care, and we are really excited to be a part of it.”
Project Manager Paul Wyncoop is ready to get to work.
“I have been working with this group for a long time and look forward to getting this project under way. The land is fairly flat, and once the concrete floor is set and the basic electrical and plumbing hookups are put in place, the project will be well under way. Some of the construction, such as the trusses, are being made off-site and will be quickly installed.”
Board member Andy Derr, who has been on the shelter’s Building and Grounds Committee, commented: “Over the years, we have been doing our best to keep the old shelter going and are looking forward to our new site. It’s quiet down here. We won’t have to worry about walking the dogs across a highway. There will be trails to walk the dogs. In fact, people won’t even know we are down here.”
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, NY 12993 or donate online at ncspca.org. All donations are tax-deductible.
Email Alvin Reiner: email@example.com