Construction will begin on the North Country SPCA’s new shelter on Route 9N east of Elizabethtown tomorrow after a year of planning and two years of fund-raising. The shelter is expected to open its doors in February 2013. The North Country SPCA is the only animal shelter in Essex County. Each year they care for over 400 homeless, abandoned, and abused cats and dogs. Since it was founded in 1969, the no-kill shelter has helped thousands of animals find homes.
“At last, the needy dogs and cats of Essex County will no longer have to live in an overcrowded, unhealthy building until loving homes can be found. The 40-year-old Westport shelter is literally falling down and contractors said there were so many problems that the only solution was to start over,” said John Sawyers, President of the NCSPCA.
The Frances Miller Shelter, named for the mother of one of the major donors, will be a place of hope for the over 400 cats and dogs the NCSPCA cares for each year. The Miller Shelter will house up to 65 cats, both in cat “colony” rooms where up to 10 cats can roam and climb, as well as individual “condos” where mother cats can nurse in peace. Up to 25 dogs and puppies will live in quieter rooms instead of cramped wire cages.
The new shelter is expected to meet today’s standards for animal care, with isolation rooms for sick animals and get-acquainted areas where people can spend time with a pet before adoption. A room for basic medical procedures and another for obedience and puppy training are planned. The wooded 18-acre property is expected to include walking trails and a large, fenced play yard so that dogs no longer have to be exercised on a busy road.
Co-chair of the capital campaign, Margaret Reuther added, “Building the new shelter would not have been possible without the generosity of nearly 1,000 people throughout Essex County as well as other parts of New York and also Vermont. The tremendous support from our community has made this exciting new building a reality.” The NCSPCA hired ARQ Architects to design the new shelter, a small firm with extensive experience in the field of animal care. The goal is to replace grim, noisy animal pounds with stress-free shelters. North Woods Engineering of Saranac Lake provided the site design.
Pam Rock, Shelter Manager, says “We work hard to make sure the animals are healthy and happy. We pay for all of their tests and inoculations, as well as spaying and neutering. Then our dedicated staff and volunteers groom, train, and socialize the animals to give each one an opportunity for a new life.” Volunteers are needed. Those interested should call Pam at 518-962-8604 or email [email protected]
Those wishing 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 www.ncspca.org. The NCSPCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
Photo above courtesy Margaret Reuther; below, cat colony and dog rooms courtesy ARQ Architects.