WESTPORT - Construction began on the North Country SPCA's new shelter on Aug. 15 on state Route 9N east of Elizabethtown. After a year of planning and two years of fund-raising, the shelter will open its doors in February 2013.
"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, in a press release.
"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," said co-chair of the capital campaign, Margaret Reuther. "The tremendous support from our community has made this exciting new building a reality."
A rendering of new shelter by ARQ Architects.
The Frances Miller Shelter, named for the mother of one of the major donors, will be a place of hope for the more than 400 cats and dogs the NCSPCA cares for eachyear. The 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 undisturbed. Up to 25 dogs and puppies will live in quiet, cozy rooms instead of cramped wire cages.
The new shelter will 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, according to the press release. There will be a room for basic medical procedures and another for obedience and puppy training. The wooded 18-acre property will have walking trails and a large, fenced play yard so that dogs no longer have to be exercised on a busy road.
The NCSPCA hired ARQ Architects to design the new shelter. The North Country SPCA is the only animal shelter in Essex County. Each year they care for more than 400 homeless, abandoned, and abused cats and dogs. Since it was founded in 1969, this no-kill shelter has helped literally thousands of animals find loving homes.
Individuals who wish 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.