More Room: Shelter Preparing for Expansion as Needs Increase
Bouncing balls of puppy energy, Bud and Betsy are fast making themselves comfortable with the Price family in Carthage.
“They have made themselves right at home,” said Dana Price. “They are very smart and very attentive.
“My five-year old son will be down on the floor and they will come over and lay on his head and chew on his ears and he just loves that.”
Bud and Betsy, now the center of attention in a loving family, have come a long way in a short time.
The two black Labrador-mix puppies were among seven soaking wet, sore-covered siblings crammed in a filthy white Coleman cooler and left on the front stoop at the Moore Humane Society in late June. One of the puppies was dead, but the other six — three males and three females — survived.
Betsy and Bud, whose name was changed from Yogi because Price’s 5-year-old son said he and the dog were going to be “best buddies,” were adopted a few weeks ago. Siblings Tellie, Boo Boo, Divot and Tasha remain at the Moore County Humane Society, housed in a facility that is outdated and in need of replacing.
Complicating matters is that this is the busiest time of year for local shelters, who see an influx of animals.
Humane Society officials are gearing up for a capital campaign to raise about $2 million to build a new shelter on Waynor Road and N.C. 22 near the Moore County Airport.
Shelter staff currently are located in a 6,000-square-foot facility on N.C. 22 near U.S. 15-501 in Carthage that was completed in 1971. They’re confident a new facility will improve the quality of life for the animals housed there and provide a better overall experience for residents, which will lead to more adoptions.
“The new facility will house a few more animals, but it’s more about the quality of the facility,” said Corky Frye, executive director of the Moore Humane Society.
When asked what makes the current facility outdated, Frye answered bluntly.
“Virtually everything, ” she said.
During a recent visit to the Humane Society, the lights in the dog kennel area of the building went out when the dryers in the laundry room were running. The incident was called a common occurrence.
In addition to a lack of office and storage space, Frye said some of the main issues revolve around conditions that stress out the animals, like an older heating and air conditioning system, which contributes to less than optimal air flow and close-quarter enclosures for dogs and cats.
The new facility, which is designed by Daggett & Griggs Inc., is slated to be a 15,000-square-foot cageless facility that includes three main wings: an adoption area, an education center, and an intake and clinic area. The facility will also feature an outside exercise area, a grooming area and an indoor play area for cats and kittens.
“This is going to be much friendlier to people,” Frye said. “They don’t want to be in a dingy, depressing place.”
Frye said she believes that an inviting atmosphere will lead to more adoptions, but that is secondary to the care and treatment of the animals that come to the Humane Society.
“Adoptions are great, but it’s about ensuring that all animals are treated with compassion, dignity and respect,” she said.
The idea to expand the current facility has been kicked around for about 15 years, Frye said. Now, she said the Humane Society has nearly everything in place to begin construction.
“We have the land paid for, the plans, the zoning in place. Now all we are waiting for is the green,” Frye said.
She said the society has some money to begin site work and to start construction, but that it wants to make sure there’s enough to complete the project before beginning.
She is hopeful that construction can begin in the spring.
Large equipment has been rumbling at the new location as crews complete site work. The site work, Frye said, is being completed with restricted donations specified solely for the use in building the new facility.
The site work is the first step as the Humane Society moves forward with the campaign to raise the necessary funds to complete construction of the new animal welfare center.
Currently the Humane Society has 30 to 50 active volunteers who do everything from walking dogs to helping out with special events in the community, to handling administrative paperwork.
“They are obviously very important to the functioning of the Humane Society and the quality care that the animals here get,” Frye said.
The facility currently houses approximately 40 animals ready for adoption. Each animal that comes into the shelter is checked by a vet and spayed or neutered before it is made available for adoption. Some animals, like the six surviving puppies that arrived in the cooler, are fostered for a period of time before they are made available for adoption.
Sometimes animals come to the Humane Society under trying circumstances or with special needs.
Take Darling the cat, who came to the Humane Society in February after she was found trapped in a grease barrel outside the Darling House Pub.
“We had to bathe her multiple times to get all the grease out of her fur,” said Humane Society manager Heather Collins.
Then there’s Bailey the cat, who was a paralyzed new mother with three kittens.
“She had a bullet in her back,” Frye said. Bailey, who eventually learned to stand on her own, was adopted despite the fact that her injuries meant that she needs her owner to evacuate her bladder regularly.
Frye said a dedicated adoption area in the new facility where prospective pet owners can come and meet and interact with animals should help improve adoption rates, which will allow the society to find more forever homes for animals, like Betsy and Bud.
“They are all great dogs,” Price said “We would have been happy no matter which of the puppies we adopted.”
The Moore Humane Society, located at 5355 N.C. 22 in Carthage, is open noon to 6 p.m. daily and closed Wednesdays. More information is available online at www.moorehumane.org, by calling (910) 947-2631 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @thepilot.com.
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