Almost therePublished 8:00pm Sunday, March 31, 2013
There’s only a few things left to do at the Mower County Humane Society’s new animal shelter.
The doors need to be finished, and the dog side of the shelter needs a little work. The humane society still needs a signfront as well. Few volunteers have been inside the building, but they all say one thing: It’s going to be a welcome change of pace.
“It’s fabulous,” said Lisa Badenshier, a longtime volunteer. Badenshier is one of many volunteers and members of the humane society, and she has worked with both cats and dogs during her six years helping MCHS. She’s all too excited about the switch to the new building, located at 22nd Street Southeast.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” she said.
A long time coming
Some of the volunteers still remember how the humane society used to operate. Trudy Enger may have recently rejoined MCHS, but when she used to volunteer 30 years ago, she and others acted as foster families to wayward puppies and kitties.
“We worked out of our homes,” she said. “We fostered out of them.”
Enger decided to rejoin as she needed a place to get her “kitty fix,” as she and her husband travel too often to keep a pet at home. She’s excited for the new shelter, which should make cleaning animal kennels a lot easier.
The current shelter, which MCHS moved into in 1999, is too small to house the many animals volunteers watch over. The building’s furnace is faltering, leaks in the roof have been repaired far too many times, and the ventilation can’t handle the pet dander about the building.
The new shelter is a lot larger than the current one, and looks to be a little easier to operate. At 9,000 square feet, the shelter will hold the same amount of animals — about 100 cats and 25 dogs — but the additional space, new kennels, washing areas and dog runs will allow animals to live healthier while waiting for their forever home. The cats will be organized in pods, which will allow them to frolic about in smaller groups. It should also cut down on animal stress, which can lead to sickness, and the new ventilation systems will cut down on germs being spread.
“We don’t have that tension there because of overcrowding,” Kelly Rush, MCHS volunteer, said.
The volunteers are happy to hear that. With so many new animals coming in and out all the time, it can be a hassle trying to clean everything out, but the new shelter should save time and effort through things like drains in every room and a central vacuum system to clean the floors. Volunteers who are used to sweeping and scrubbing every surface at the old animal shelter are going to be relieved to get into the new building.
“I’m excited,” said LeeAnn Ettinger, a four-year volunteer.
Ettinger said the extra space and easier cleaning will help make the animals less stressed.
“It kind of makes you feel better,” she said.
Yet, it could take a while before volunteers can move the animals out of the old shelter, off of 10th Street Southeast. The city of Austin has yet to complete 22nd Street Southeast, which would end at the new humane society, and MCHS volunteers say the city expects to start construction in mid-May. In addition, all the new kennels and supplies need to be moved into the new shelter.
That won’t deter volunteers, who have talked of a new shelter since moving into its current location. The almost-two year process to get a new shelter up and running is almost finished. The biggest hurdle now is planning the big move.
“I can’t imagine how the moving process is going to go,” Ettinger said with a laugh.