On Monday six dogs were walked —and 16 cats were carried — into their shiny new temporary home at the new Franklin County Animal Shelter.
After eight years of setbacks, financing issues, a change in location and a change in architect, the $1.4-million facility celebrated with a ribbon cutting filled with county officials Tuesday morning.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I knew it would happen, I just didn’t know when,” said Cindy Brooks, animal control manager.
The former facility on U.S. 220 was outdated with plumbing problems, flooring issues, poor ventilation, rusting fences and handicap accessibility, among other issues.
“It served its life,” Franklin County Board of Supervisor Chairman Leland Mitchell said of the former site. “It had a long life and was well-lived.”
The 47-year-old facility was also too small. The new 6,000-square-foot shelter can house up to 26 dogs and 32 cats. It’s more than triple the size of the former shelter, which was built in 1973 and was less than 2,000 square feet. Brooks said county landfill employees will use the former animal shelter site as office space.
The new facility is located on State Street in Rocky Mount and is conveniently located for county residents than the previous shelter, which was located adjacent to the county’s old landfill.
Balzer and Associates were the architects and Frith Construction was the general contractor for the project.
The new shelter has a modern ventilation system, incorporates natural light and is more inviting. The shelter also provides isolation areas for animals to be quarantined upon intake or for medical reasons for both cats and dogs.
There’s a separate space provided for law enforcement who may need to house an animal after hours that is protected by a keypad that requires a code in case humane officers are not available. Office space for animal control officers, a sally port to unload animals safely, as well as an outdoor exercise area were incorporated into the new site. The building includes a medical room for exams and to administer shots to the animals.
Another new feature is the animal meet and greet adoption room, which will provide a space for potential adopters to spend a time with an animal before adopting. Brooks said the room will be named after Joy Jamison, a long-time volunteer who recently died.
“It’s an inviting place for the public to come up and see the care we give to our animals,” Mitchell said. “We see this as having room for future growth.”
Brooks said the shelter is fundraising for a larger play yard for the dogs.
The new facility is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The facility is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
A grand opening celebration will be held Saturday, July 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours of the new facility, and police K-9 demonstrations featuring Sasha, an officer with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and Spike, a Rocky Mount Police Department K-9 officer. The Hot Dog Stand will be on-site selling hot dogs.
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