Adam, one of many cats at the Mower County Humane Society, enjoys a cool floor Monday afternoon while volunteers clean enclosures for the first day at the new facility. Volunteers moved all 130 cats into the new facility on Sunday, and the dogs will be soon to follow.
Adam, one of many cats at the Mower County Humane Society, enjoys a cool floor Monday afternoon while volunteers clean enclosures for the first day at the new facility. Volunteers moved all 130 cats into the new facility on Sunday, and the dogs will be soon to follow.

Archived Story

A new home for Austin’s felines, canines

Published 10:59am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cats move into new shelter; dogs to follow

Despite the excessive heat, Adam enjoyed the comfort of a cool, air-conditioned room while he lay on a cold, hard floor Monday afternoon.

New cat enclosures have removable separators for extra space.
New cat enclosures have removable separators for extra space.

Adam is a cat, you see, and he was quite content in the new digs at the Mower County Humane Society, where he and about 130 cats moved on Sunday. The new facility is officially open for business, and cats are available for adoption. Humane Society members and volunteers are still busy, though, completing a few more tasks from their move from 1010 10th Drive SE. They hope outdoor fencing at the new location will be complete this week, so they can move the roughly 28 dogs they will house.

Last Friday and Saturday, about 250 guests visited the new shelter during an open house, where they saw the building’s well-organized, spacious footprint. On the feline side of the operation, 10 rooms each house eight caging units. Even more enclosures line the end of a commons area where cats like Adam — a white and gray, easy-going feline with a crooked ear and bit of a gut — mill about in carefree fashion.

Kelly Rush shows off one of the new dog pods at the Humane Society Monday afternoon.
Kelly Rush shows off one of the new dog pods at the Humane Society Monday afternoon.

There are offices, playrooms, an isolation room, a large washroom, storage and space for a soon-to-be fenced area outdoors.

On the K-9 side, there are three pod rooms, each with six enclosures for medium to large size dogs. Another room has four enclosures for small dogs. Like there is for cats, there is also an isolation room for dogs, a washroom, storage and more.

The organization did its homework, as it gathered ideas from many other shelters, including Duluth, Dubuque and Mason City, Iowa, and Kandiyohi County in central Minnesota.

“They were great in that they told us their mistakes, too,” said Kelly Rush. “That’s probably the best kind of advice you can have.”

Other ideas came from Hormel Foods and the Austin Veterinary Clinic, such as tips for sanitation and air exchange. The shelter’s air system replaces the air in each room six times per hour.

“We’re constantly getting circulation from the outside, fresh air,” said Mower County Humane Society President Jay Lutz.

The isolation rooms, where sick dogs and cats will be kept, are separate from the overall air exchange system, as well. For visitors, there is a meeting room in the front of the building.

The new location, at 101 22nd St. SE, on the south end of the Austin Municipal Airport, will have the same visiting hours: 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Staff can be reached at 437-9262, and the organization is online at mowercountyhumanesociety.org.

The shelter is also getting ready to hold another spay and neuter clinic through the Minnesota Spay and Neuter Assistance Program on Sept. 19. More information is available at mnsnap.org.


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