Prepping for Major Upgrades

By Max Resnik

November 19, 2011 Updated Nov 19, 2011 at 10:04 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – On Tuesday, the Huntington County Humane Shelter will break ground on a brand new facility to create more care opportunities for the county’s stray and helpless animals.

Phase one of the project is a 700 square foot 12 kennel facility that will be state of the art. Included in the new facility is a brand new ventilation system, something the shelter has yearned for in its fight to limit the number of diseases that travel through the shelter. Additionally, the shelter will have a brand new floor washing system that eliminates extra labor for the shelter’s employees.

Pat Merckx, President and Executive Director for the Board of the Huntington County Humane Shelter, says the upgrades are long overdue. The original building was constructed in 1972 but was not equipped to handle the constant flow of stray dogs, cats, rabbits and other critters on a daily basis. She says the shelter takes in some 2,000 animals each year. She says the expansion and renovations are needed now more than ever.

“They’re mandatory. It’s extremely crucial. We’ve duct taped and we’ve spackled everywhere we can. We can’t do it anymore.”

With the help of one hugely generous Huntington County resident, the shelter should not have to make anymore of its own repairs. The individual came forward in 2009 with a challenge to raise $100,000. The donor said that she would match every dollar up to $100,000 that the shelter could raise. Today, they have nearly raised all of it. Other major donors have come forward as well. To date, more than $200,000 has been raised to work on the facility and other renovations. The shelter still needs close to $100,000 more for upkeep and a clinic to be built in the back of the current facility. Merckx is thankful.

“This could not have hit at a worse time and now we’ve come as far as we have, I just have so many people out there that I know that I and the shelter and the employees and all the board can just say thanks for getting us where we are today.”

The shelter began their search for donations to construct a new facility all the way back in 2001. Fundraising was sluggish and came to a screeching halt during the early years of the recession around 2008.

Phase two of the project will consist of gutting the current facility and redoing floors. The floors are unable to keep out moisture year-round.

In all, the entire addition and renovation should be done within the next two years. Until then, Merckx says the most important thing Huntington County residents can do is spay and neuter their pets.

“That is the most important factor in animal control. That is doing the right thing for your animal and that is spaying and neutering them.”

Merckx says she has been approached by various veterinarians who have offered their time to help spay and neuter Huntington County pets if the clinic can be fully updated as part of the new renovations.

To find out how you can help, check out the link to the Huntington County Humane shelter under Related Content on this story or on our NewsLinks page.




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