The public is invited to celebrate the start of construction on the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society’s new shelter on Wednesday, which will provide a larger, updated space for more homeless cats and dogs waiting to be adopted.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at 400 N. Rufe Taylor Road, where the new 8,000-square-foot facility is to be built. It will include 16 outdoor dog exercise yards, three cat rooms and patio space for cats, and will span 8 acres.
“We are so excited that thanks to our generous donors, we are now able to build a new, modern shelter,” said Amy Bowman, director of the local Humane Society. “Our new shelter will be much bigger. We currently have less than 5,000 square feet on three acres, so this should provide a better experience for animals and for people and will increase the capacity of dogs and cats we can accommodate.
She said the extra space will both allow the shelter to accommodate more animals and provide more recreational space and be more comfortable for the animals while awaiting adoption.
“We’ll have bigger kennels and more space outside, and one of the most exciting things for me is that instead of having one big cat room, we’ll have three, so we don’t we won’t have that many cats per room,” Bowman said.
Adoption center assistant Katrinka Day also said the extra space for the cats was at the top of her list of reasons to be excited about the new building.
“We currently have a limit of around 30 cats. If we have 30 cats here, it’s really too full, so it will be cool for them to have more room, and I’m glad we can save more” , she said, “I’m also very happy to have a room for the kittens, which I think will give them more space to run around and play on the floor more.”
She said having more open space for kittens would be safer than the current setup, where kittens can’t resist climbing on anything they can if left to roam.
“That’s why we pad the floors around where they might climb so they don’t just hit the concrete if they fall,” Day said.
She and Bowman said one of the chat rooms is designed to connect with a “catio,” or cat patio.
In addition to the additional capacity, plans for the new building also call for larger halls, medical and waiting areas for pets, improved ventilation and cleaning systems in an effort to prevent the spread of disease. and odor control mechanisms, Bowman said.
Wendy Palmer, customer service specialist, said the extra storage and better sink and counter space for cleaning and disinfecting supplies will make a big difference in day-to-day operations.
“We only have one sink right now, and it’s not double-sided, and we don’t have enough storage,” Palmer said. “The new location will have much better throughput.”
She said the stream will also extend to the outdoor area, which will be carefully divided by walking paths for the dogs to play and get to know their future adopters. The area will be surrounded by a perimeter fence and a thick row of trees around the property will help muffle the noise from the shelter for the benefit of nearby residents.
“We’ve had to add a bit more space for the dogs and expand here over the years, but we’ve just run out of space, and there’s also just the normal wear and tear of a 45-year-old building, but we need this new building so we can house more, and that’s why we started fundraising to build,” Palmer said. “It’s been a great place for us since 1976, and it’s served us well, but we’re really excited about the new facility.”
Palmer and Bowman said the new facility is possible with community support.
“Our new shelter would not exist without the generosity of our supporters over the years. We are so grateful because it is because of them that we are able to have this positive impact in the lives of so many dogs and cats,” Bowman said. “Our new building is really designed to improve the lives of these animals in the short term and give them the best possible experience until they can find a forever home.”
As a nonprofit organization, The Humane Society’s operations are supported year-round by donations, which can be made online at the local Humane Society website or mailed to the Greeneville- Greene County Humane Society at PO Box 792, Greeneville, TN 37744.