Dogs, cats will have new place to wait for forever home
By Anna-Marie Menhenott
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- As more and more animals are in need of forever families, the need to properly house them while they wait to be adopted will become a little easier when the newest Humane Society facility opens this month.
The original Humane Society Shelter in St. Lucie County, located at 100 Savannah Road in Fort Pierce, was built in 1956. Since that time, the number of animals treated has more than quadrupled, creating a state of crisis at the shelter. As a result, the Humane Society struggles to care for more than 8,000 animals each year in a shelter designed to accommodate 2,500 a year.
Because of the constant overcrowding, the Humane Society has built a new facility off of Glades Cut-off Road in Port St. Lucie. The facility will allow the staff to save, treat, house and place more animals in forever homes.
"Our new facility couldn't come at a better time," said Rita Hart, marketing and outreach coordinator with The Humane Society of St. Lucie County. "We are moving staff and some of the animals to the new facility over the next few weeks and then we'll prepare for a grand opening. We want to get everyone settled before we hold the event, but when we do, the entire community can witness what an extraordinary environment this is for the animals."
The new facility will service animals brought in through the City of Port St. Lucie Animal Control, while the facility on Savannah Road will continue to service County Animal Control and the City of Fort Pierce Animal Control.
"The new facility will offer things that the older one isn't able to provide, such as an area that can quarantine cats with respiratory illness and a separate area for those who are bringing in their animals for routine physicals and shots," Ms. Hart said.
The new facility will also offer a sanctuary for pet owners who have brought older, sick animals in to be euthanized.
"The sanctuary gives grieving pet owners' time to spend with their beloved animals," Ms. Hart said. "It's hard to do that at the other facility because the reception area is quite small. There are sad, grieving owners, sitting next to excited, new owners, who share a waiting room with distraught people who have had to turn in animals they can no longer provide for along with those who have brought in animals to get spayed or neutered. In the new facility, we are able to give everyone their own space."
The new facility can house up to 140 dogs and has a cat condo for cats. The condo gives felines an opportunity to socialize, an important step in the adoption process.
There will also be a separate post-surgical area for cats and dogs, creating a soothing atmosphere for animals waking up from surgery.
The new facility is housed on more than four acres of land, providing room for expansion.
"Soon, we will have a fenced in area in the front of the building that will give visitors a chance to see some of the dogs at play," Ms. Hart said. "There is also an area in the lobby that showcases some of the animals that are up for adoption. These might be older dogs and cats that have been at the shelter for a while and really need to find their forever home."
The new shelter will be open within the next couple of weeks and a grand opening celebration will be held soon thereafter.
For more information, visit www.hsslc.org.