Members of the
Porter County Board of Commissioners and County Council on Friday, along
with Shelter Director Toni Bianchi, donor Jacki Stutzman, and
representatives of DLZ Indiana and Larson Danielson Construction Company
marked the official start of construction for the new Porter County Animal
The new 14,000
square foot facility is located on Ind. 49, just north of the Porter County
Expo Center, and replaces the aging and outdated 4,000 square foot shelter
that was built in the early 1980s on Ind. 2 and Heavilin Rd..
Toni Bianchi and our dedicated shelter staff have worked miracles tending
for our homeless animals while their hands were tied by the condition and
limitations of the old shelter,” said County Commissioner Laura Blaney,
D-South, in a statement released after the ceremony. “I can’t wait to see
the amazing things that they will accomplish when their skills and
dedication are unleashed in a new, modern facility.”
The new facility is
designed to not only accommodate more animals, but to help control operating
costs and increase successful adoptions. The maximum capacity for dogs
increases to 120 from 50 at the old shelter, and for cats to 120 from 80. It
will include a spay/neuter clinic, two examination rooms and a grooming
It is hoped the
enhancements will result in healthier animals that are more readily
adoptable and assure that all animals are altered before they leave the
shelter to reduce animal overpopulation and future intakes at the shelter
over the long term.
In addition, modern
air circulation and indoor drainage systems, along with the specific
building materials used in the dog and cat areas, are expected to improve
sanitary conditions and reduce health risks to the animals and public.
Three “meet and
greet” rooms for potential adopters will provide a welcoming environment for
the public to bond with the animals before adoption, furthering the
shelter’s goal of successful, long term placements. An educational
conference room offers the opportunity for community educational programs
about responsible pet ownership, with the goal of reducing animal surrenders
or abandonment. The conference room will also provide a much needed space
for the shelter’s volunteer orientation program to expand public involvement
in caring for and socializing the shelter’s animal population.
“The day that this
new shelter opens will mark a turning point for our animals, staff and the
public in Porter County,” said Bianchi. “We will be able to move from a
shelter that just houses homeless animals to a comprehensive and
multi-faceted approach in addressing a long term solution to the problems of
animal homelessness and overpopulation.”
It is anticipated,
weather permitting, that construction of the new shelter will be complete by
June 1, 2017.
for the shelter have been budgeted at $3.25 million. The County
Commissioners and Council have unanimously approved a $2.25 million
appropriation from the proceeds of the sale of the hospital.
The remaining $1
million has been donated by Stutzman, a Porter Twp. resident. Stutzman first
became aware of the limitations and challenges of the current shelter
building while cleaning cages as a volunteer over four years ago.
“It has been a long
four-year journey,” said Stutzman. “Today marks the beginning of a new
chapter for the Porter County Animal Shelter and the animals they care for.
I am counting the days until the grand opening in 2017.”