Final construction begins for expansion of Humane Society shelter
SANDUSKY — The Erie County Humane Society has started construction for the third and final phase of its three-year expansion project.
Completion of the $451,000 project will approximately double the space of the shelter, from about 4,000 square feet to about 8,000 square feet, expand the capacity of the shelter to hold rescue animals and provide for more humane treatment of the animals until they find their permanent homes.
The original 1987 building also is getting a new roof and a new electrical system.
Work for the cat areas is mostly complete. The third phase, started last week by Telemon Construction, is expected to be completed by July 31 and concentrates on the dog area, said Barbara Hargreaves, who has served as executive director of the humane society for eight years.
When the work is done, there will be seven runs with hydraulic lift doors, allowing the dogs inside to get their food and water and outside to get fresh air.
The capacity for dogs will grow from 14 to 22, and for the first time, the shelter will be able to take in large dogs such as Saint Bernards and Great Danes.
The first phase of the work was done in 2017 and the second phase completed last year.
The shelter’s capacity for holding cats expanded from 80 to 120, and the cages are double the size of the original cages, making life more pleasant for the cats.
A new play area for potential owners to meet cats, known as “Kevin’s Corner,” will be completed soon, with a mural to be provided by the Perkins High School art students.
The play area is named after Kevin Sullivan, 16, a Perkins student who was about to enter his senior year when he died in a jet ski crash in June 2016. He was known for his love of animals.
On Friday, the shelter had 54 cats, with 26 available for adoption and with more kittens expected to arrive soon. The shelter cat population fluctuates and has been as high as 95, Hargreaves said.
The chairperson for the “Rescue — Our Favorite Breed Capital Campaign” that raised money for the shelter was Julie Brooks, also the secretary of the humane society board and the retired Sandusky Library director.
Brooks said the original goal of $400,000 was met in December, and the board asked if an additional $51,000 could be added. The campaign has raised $438,000, so it’s nearing the new goal.
The additional $51,000 is all being spent to make life better for the animals at the shelter. It is paying for soundproofing of the kennels so that the barking won’t frighten the cats, sturdier paint to withstand the constant washing that must be done to keep the shelter clean, and radiant heat flooring to keep the dogs warm in winter. Expenses for the previously-planned work have stayed within the budget, Brooks said.
Brooks said 55 percent of the capital campaign money came from individuals, 43 percent from foundations and about 3 percent from corporations. Nearly all of the money came from people or foundations in Erie County. The Dorn Foundation was the lead donor among local foundations.
Many of the donors adopted rescue animals from the humane society, while others cannot keep animals but wanted to show their love for them, Brooks said.
The key to raising money is that the public knows that the shelter is well run, taking good care of the animals and fiscally responsible, Brooks said.
“It’s because it’s been so well run by Barb and this crew, it has been so easy to raise money,” Brooks said.
The space with the dog cages at the Humane Society of Erie County will be sound proof so the dogs will not disturb the cats.
The final phase of construction at the Humane Society of Erie County includes the dog areas.