Summit County unveils animal control building expansion
The four-legged guests of Summit County’s Animal Control Building have a little more room now to stretch their legs, and paws, after the county recently completed more than $800,000 in renovations to the facility.
Animal Control staffers were joined by Summit County Council members, county staffers and representatives from animal-rescue organizations on Wednesday to celebrate the upgrade, which nearly doubled the size of the 25-year-old facility on Hoytsville Road in Wanship.
"This is a spectacular building and I would like to especially thank the Summit County Council for their dedication to the mission of animal control," said Clay Coleman, animal control administrator, at the ribbon cutting.
When County Councilors adopted the budget for the 2015 fiscal year, they approved the $800,000 request to renovate the shelter. The facility had not been updated since it was built, which resulted in an out-of-date ventilation system and cramped spaces.
The expansion accommodates additional office space, an adoption room, more kennels, food storage, a separate quarantine area, an exterior dog run and horse paddock.
"It used to be that when you walked in to the shelter there was just one large room and that was it," said Brian Bellamy, former animal control director. "Cats were on the right, dogs were in the middle and the officers worked in the old garage. Now we have new kennels and more room for them to stretch."
The shelter’s two cat rooms were turned into puppy-play areas and the cats were relocated to another section of the building. The new area for cats has nearly doubled in size to include a separate space for cats, kittens and a recreation room.
A bank of eight indoor/outdoor kennels was created toward the exterior of the space to provide dogs with outside access. Quarantined dogs and "biters" are also now housed in a different location from the adoptable animals.
Each area has a separate ventilation system now, which especially helps prevent the spread of infection and airborne illnesses in cats, Bellamy said.
"It was hard before," Bellamy said. "If one cat caught something, it was hard for the illness to not spread to the others."
Bellamy said he hopes the upgrades will not only benefit the animals, but provide a more welcoming atmosphere to encourage people to visit.
"We don’t want to be the pound. We want to rescue animals and we want to adopt animals, be they cats, dogs, alpacas or turkeys," Bellamy said. "We are trying to become more of a service to the public so we can help. Having a facility like this is a good start and deal all around for everyone.
"It will be good for the people and, especially, the animals if they have to stay with us a little longer," he said. "The space is brighter, there is more natural light and it’s just better."
Summit County’s Animal Control Shelter will remain open seven days a week. As a result of the expansion, an additional shelter attendant was hired to help facilitate operations.
The shelter will be open Mondays through Fridays from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on the weekends from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information about the shelter go to http://summitcountyanimalcontrol.com/.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.