From the the Humane Society of Harford County:
After years of planning and three months of extensive earthwork, the outline for the new 19,000 square foot home of The Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) is under construction at 2208 Connolly Road in Fallston. The new facility is starting to take shape, with concrete brick foundation walls expected to rise up shortly. Towson Mechanical, Inc., the project’s general contractor, is scheduled to complete the facility by late summer/early fall 2015. This is a very exciting time for HSHC and our community!
“While this is a momentous occasion, our work is not yet complete,” said HSHC executive director, Mary Leavens. “The current cost estimate for the project, which includes capital costs as well as related ancillary costs, is approximately $7.5 million.”
Since HSHC serves as the official animal shelter for Harford County, the County has committed to provide $6 million towards the design and capital costs of building the new shelter. “The rest is up to us”, Leavens added. The goal of our Gimme Shelter capital campaign is $1.5 million to bridge that gap and to create additional reserves for construction and operational contingencies and future programs. Funds will be used for items such as medical equipment and supplies, power wash cleaning systems, security and phone systems, computers, copiers and printers, a back-up generator for the facility, construction of the storage pole barn, and other related expenses.
The Humane Society of Harford County has been an important service organization in the Harford County community since 1947 when it was started by Mrs. Elsa Voss. Over the last 67 years, it has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals and their caregivers. HSHC still serves as the County’s longest continuously operating animal shelter – and in the same farmhouse where it began.
“It is very clear that our current facility was never designed to serve as a permanent animal shelter,” Leavens said. “Providing even the most basic services for the animals in our aging facility is extraordinarily challenging.” Infrastructure issues that plague the facility include floors that sag; ventilation systems that require constant maintenance; old building materials and methods that do not restrict the spread of airborne contaminants and odors; drain pipes that frequently break and clog; and an overall structure that is cracking and crumbling. While these challenges do not diminish the excellent level of animal care provided every day, HSHC’s capacity to house the animals is limited and its facility is cramped and crowded. The animals desperately need a new shelter.
Working with a local architectural firm and with guidance from Shelter Planners of America, the safe and modern new shelter will feature:
· A spay/neuter suite to ensure that procedures are performed prior to animals being adopted;
· 66% more dog and cat holding areas;
· Modern medical treatment facilities and isolation areas for sick animals;
· Private, individual cat and dog “get-acquainted rooms” to promote bonding and adoptions;
· Expanded outdoor recreation space for dogs and cats to exercise;
· Larger interior and exterior kennels for increased comfort;
· A private “pet surrender” area;
· A community room for meetings, workshops, education and training sessions;
· A 136% increase in usable square footage;
· Lighted parking lot with 70 spaces; and
· So much more!
“Most people do not get to see the great work done behind the scenes here at HSHC,” said Robert Silcox, DVM, Hickory Veterinary Hospital. “The staff does an amazing job despite the limitations of the current building, but there is no question that the new facility will exponentially improve our ability to care for the animals of Harford County. The new facility will provide a less stressful environment with improved sanitation and air quality to dramatically limit the spread of illnesses through the shelter, and new medical treatment areas and isolation wards will allow for better care of the sick and injured that arrive on our doorstep.”
Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the new facility, whether making a general donation toward the care and comfort of the animals, naming a room or area in the building, purchasing a commemorative “Leaf of Love” on the Donor Tree or more. Gifts can also be made in honor of or in memory of a person or a pet. Gifts can be made securely online at www.harfordshelter.org. Gifts by check should be made payable to The Humane Society of Harford County and mailed to: The Humane Society of Harford County, Attn: Gimme Shelter, 2208 Connolly Road, Fallston, MD 21047.
Donors have always played a valuable role in supporting HSHC’s work to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in need. The public’s financial support has never been more critical for the future health and safety of the homeless and abandoned animals of Harford County.
To learn more, please contact Mary Leavens at 410-836-1090 ext. 101. Mary would be delighted to show you the designs of the new building, give you a tour, and just have a friendly informative conversation.